ORIGINS: NOW AND ZEN IN L.A.

Byline: Katherine Bowers

LOS ANGELES — Origins is hoping its newest large-format store, complete with sensory bar, Zen garden and verdant color palette, will be an oasis for weary Southern California shoppers. The 2,200 square-foot store, which opened last week in the Century City Shopping Center, is estimated to do $2 million in its first year, according to industry sources.
“The message is come in, relax, take a breath. And then go back to your pace,” said Origins president Lynne Greene, who noted that the mall is surrounded by hotels and office buildings filled with hurried professionals. The new store replaces a 600 square-foot door that opened in the mall in 1993, and which, Greene said, was never quite large enough to accommodate demand.
The lifestyle wellness brand, which is a division of Estee Lauder, has another similarly-sized store in North Park Shopping Center in Dallas, which bowed in 1999 and is considering Denver as a market for a large-format store. But don’t expect all Origins stores to be large; going forward, the company will be looking for units about 1,000 square feet, Greene said.
The new Century City store has two entrances. On one side, a small Zen garden, with plantings of bamboo and a “stream” of gray river rock, leads into the sensory experience area, where customers can get a mini massage, try a treatment at the sink, sip herbal tea or select “energizing” or “soothing” aromatherapy. “We were really focusing on all five senses,” said Greene.
Customers with a more singular purpose can go through the store’s central entrance to visit the open-sell shelves, where the company’s successful Ginger franchise receives front-and-center play. Greene said the company will be adding Ginger Bloom bath oil, priced $25, in May for Mother’s Day. Also in the works, Greene said, are Clean Head Conditioner and Knot Free shampoo, each at $11, which will join their respective matching shampoo and conditioner in June. Greene noted that the customer is fond of “matching” her hair care products.
The company has also chosen to give their color prominent space. There are two maple wood stations at the front of the store which display color on a lazy-Susan style tray. Repacking and reorganizing color by family hue seems to have paid off for the brand — Greene said the category is posting double-digit increases. The company’s Waterlily, a coquettish purple Monet would have loved, is a surprising top seller, said Greene.