Bobbi Brown is traveling across the country to plant its first West Coast and second U.S. store in Beverly Hills.
Opening today, the nearly 700-square-foot location on South Santa Monica Boulevard joins a Montclair, N.J., studio in the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc.-owned beauty brand’s domestic retail portfolio. It gives Bobbi Brown exposure on a major thoroughfare in the Los Angeles area and widens its audience outside of department stores to a motley mix of Angelenos, tourists and professional makeup artists.
“L.A.’s culture reflects my personal philosophy that beauty isn’t just about makeup — it’s about taking care of yourself, healthy eating and regular exercise,” Brown said. “This store adopts the concept of looking and feeling your best in an environment that isn’t fussy or intimidating.”
The store contains Bobbi Brown’s full assortment, including Brown’s signature line of sunglasses. Upon entering it, customers will immediately view new products and a play section where they can trial the selection. Face and skin-care products occupy one side of the shop, while makeup stations sit on the other side.
“There is a simple delineation of categories, and it is easy to find your products. We spent time on zoning the store, and that is an important idea here. Whether you want to self-shop, test, play, discover new launches as well as core products, it is all very comfortable and clear,” said Peter Lichtenthal, global brand president for Bobbi Brown and Bumble and bumble. “We think it is going to be a place where clients will want to visit and stay.”
The store provides 18 how-to tutorials guiding customers on everything from wearing makeup with glasses to looking less tired, and services covering brow-shaping, and teen, party-ready, photo-ready and bridal beauty. For customers who’d rather receive lessons and products at home or in their hotel rooms, the store arranges delivery and makeup artists for private sessions.
“Services were always an important part of Bobbi Brown, but now there is a greater expectation that, when the customer comes into a store, there will be customized services for her and different kinds of experiences for her to have,” Lichtenthal said. “We devoted more space than we would have maybe 10 years ago to makeup spaces that offer clients an opportunity to have a how-to or makeup application done. We know we have to meet the customer on her terms, which is why we have the concierge services, also something we may not have done 10 years ago.”
Bobbi Brown’s employees at the Beverly Hills location receive the brand’s most in-depth training to ensure they master makeup artistry and supply high-touch customer service. They may receive elite training, but the brand is careful that its makeup artists not seem elitist. Lichtenthal stressed warmth and accessibility are prized.
“Bobbi’s style is very much rooted in being simple and direct. She believes in demystifying the act of makeup application to show a woman how to be her best most authentic, pretty self,” he said. “When we work with a woman on a how-to, we always have the woman hold the mirror so she can see what is going on. We have her do the makeup in front of the makeup artist so she learns how to do it. In a world where people want to connect with the store and people who are selling them products and services, and not just be told what to do, Bobbi’s approach is human and natural.”
Bobbi Brown is bringing in employees to its Beverly Hills store that speak Spanish, Korean, Farsi and Chinese in addition to English. “We are anticipating a very diverse clientele, and we want to be able to speak to clients in their languages,” said Lichtenthal, noting, “Beverly Hills was chosen because it’s at the intersection of a variety of customers who we appeal to.”
Bobbi Brown expects the store to be a boon for business and brand recognition in Southern California. “When a store like this opens — a flagship store — it supports your brand, builds awareness and improves the understanding of your brand, and that drives all channels,” Lichtenthal said. “We think this will help our overall business in the region, but, not only that, it is meant to be its own true location that generates sales. It’s both an image and a business driver.”
The Beverly Hills store isn’t the start of a U.S. retail expansion push for Bobbi Brown, which has largely concentrated its 73 freestanding stores in Europe and Asia. “This was a unique opportunity, and we would be open to other unique opportunities in the future,” Lichtenthal said. “There is no current plan for an aggressive rollout of stores.”