Bumble and Bumble aims to bring the salon experience directly to the department store floor this fall, with the introduction of its first-ever Bb. StylingBar at Bloomingdale’s 59th Street flagship in Manhattan.

This story first appeared in the September 11, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The venture comes as part of the retailer’s massive overhaul of its main floor, which includes an extra 4,400 square feet and six new brands — including Bumble and bumble — that will be dedicated to beauty.

Due to open Oct. 15, Bumble’s 297-square-foot full-service outpost will offer ‘no wash, no appointment’ styling from Bumble and bumble-trained stylists as well as the brand’s full product range. Designed to offer quick, targeted looks for the customer on the go, the Bb. StylingBar is intended to serve as a global showcase for the company, positioning Bumble and bumble as both a salon and styling brand.

Industry sources estimate the new Bb. StylingBar could generate anywhere from $3 million to $3.5 million in combined product, service and referral revenue in its first year.

“We’ve been looking for a way to take our styling heritage into new venues and a new environment,” said Peter Lichtenthal, president of Bumble and bumble, which is a division of the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. “It’s about linking product and service. In an economic moment like this, the customer is in control. We’re looking to capitalize on that moment and allow the consumer and the hairdresser to rediscover us.”

As part of that discovery process, customers will be able to choose from one of roughly five suggested styles based on different textures. Interactive images and explanations of the different ’dos — boasting names like the Downtown Updo and Something Nice — will be featured on a large touch-screen menu at the front of the styling bar. All looks will cost $35 and are expected to take 20 minutes to create.

“We really thought about how to translate our salon experience to the beauty floor and offer the customer something completely different and fun,” said Bumble and bumble’s leading creative force Howard McLaren, who serves as vice president and senior artistic director for the brand.

Bumble also intends to engage a new customer at Bloomingdale’s — one who will extend their experience to the one of the brand’s two Manhattan salons or one of its 2,900 global network salons. A multimedia screen will feature salon locators that direct customers to Bumble and bumble network salons via print, e-mail or mobile communication, and an in-store Bb. Salon hotline, will allow customers to connect directly to a booking service for one of Bumble’s two Manhattan salons via phone.

For Bloomingdale’s, Bumble’s blowout bar will offer another opportunity to drive traffic to the store.

“This is a hip, edgy customer who can come in, no appointment necessary. It gives us the ability to offer our consumer a very unique experience,” said Howard Kreitzman, vice president and divisional merchandise manager for cosmetics and fragrances at Bloomingdale’s.

The installation will feature three styling stations and three touch-screen menus: one screen for the service menu, another to provide brand and product information and a third to serve as a salon locator. A screen video will play time-lapse films that show the hairdressing process at all stages.

And while Lichtenthal said there is no precedent for this type of concept on a cosmetics floor, he anticipates “a highly profitable counter.” The brand anticipates 30 percent of its volume at Bloomingdale’s to come from styling services and the remaining 70 percent to be generated from product sales.


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