Beauty Store Business

FEB 2019

Beauty Store Business provides solutions for better retailing! New products, industry news, savvy business moves and important trends affecting both brick-and-mortar and online retailers are included in each issue.

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beautystorebusiness.com | February 2019 21 Of course, the modern world moves at a much faster clip than before, but Robinson rolls with the punches–and his longtime approach resonates perfectly with today's consumers. "Today, I can go to a show [and discover a product], come back and already four people have published it in a magazine, and two have knocked it off," Robinson says with a chuckle. "You can go on Instagram and find things you never knew about; information is so rapid. Because of online business, we're told this idea that brick and mortar is dead. Well, I'm here to say, it's not dead. Our business is flourishing." To this day, the beauty section at Ron Robinson–whether online or in-store– remains a place of discovery, where the consumer can find new and exciting skin care, fragrances and cosmetics from both domestic and international brands. A CURATED COMMUNITY Successful mass-market retailers now know the importance of drawing online shoppers away from their computers via in-store events, but happenings for consumers and industry insiders have been a part of the Ron Robinson ethos for decades. In the early 2000s, its Fashion Fragrance gathering drew a sold-out crowd for a breakfast with speakers from Givaudan, the world's largest fragrance house, and a tour through the store's unique collection. In 2018, Cosmoprof North America chose Ron Robinson's flag- ship to host a preview of exciting, trending beauty products scheduled to exhibit at its Las Vegas trade show. Hundreds of professionals from the West Coast's vibrant and bustling beauty industry attended and networked. "These events bring new people into our store, but, more importantly, they connect us to the fragrance and beauty industries in a new way and at a much higher level," Robinson notes. "You're not just talking the talk–buying product and putting it on the shelves–but you're walking the walk, doing something that makes a difference and connects people. And those connections pay off for us in the long term." In-store events have turned Robinson's Santa Monica flagship store, entering its fifth year in 2019, into a community touchstone. Soaring ceilings allow plenty of space for a rotating art gallery, with receptions ushering in new artists every six to eight weeks. In the courtyard, Saturday morning yoga classes bring together dozens of devotees and visiting instructors from Southern California for a free workout session followed by healthy drinks and snacks. "It's all part of the environment I built in retail: creating that place where people want to be," Robinson explains. "When I was growing up, a cool, vibrant boutique was a great social expe- rience, a community experience. You'd see a hot guy or girl, a cool new fashion. That's gone away from retailing, but we still have it." Ultimately, Robinson believes that shopping for beauty products is better in-store where customers can feel, smell and apply them–an "immediate and acces- sible" experience, he says. But for those who can't visit in person, ronrobinson.com offers that curated, intimate feel to fans across the globe. Back in the late '90s, when Robinson created his online space, he never imagined sales would skyrocket as they have. "We're focused on the brick-and-mortar experience, and we try to portray that experience online as well," he says. "We're a privately owned boutique doing everything ourselves, so it's a balance, but we spend a great amount "When I was growing up, a cool, vibrant boutique was a great social experience, a community experience. … That's gone away from retailing, but we still have it." Building community is important to Robinson, who hosts weekly yoga at the Santa Monica location. Retailer Ron Robinson shares key advice that he has gleaned from more than 50 years in the business. "We all love the creative part of what we do, but if you're not running a successful business behind it, it's a hobby. I love creativity and design—it's a life-changer. But I also have to pay the rent. Artists who are most successful understand art from a business standpoint." "Getting the right employees is a major challenge everywhere. I look for someone with an open mind who understands our ethos and character, and how we want to deliver it, even as they have the freedom to deliver it with their own personal character." "The four-letter word is care. That's what makes the difference. Sometimes we need only one customer. Did we do what we intended, did we care for that customer, did we deliver our experience 100 percent to whoever came in that door? When that happens, it doesn't matter if there's one or 100 customers; you'll get results."

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