Beauty Store Business

JUL 2018

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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18 July 2018 | "as a haven to bring the cleanest products from Europe into the States." The store is known for a selection of top natural brands, a clear category of focus for millennials in particular. With Shen, Richards says she set out to "curate a selection based not just on ingredients and efficacy but on packaging and storytelling." This attention to store inventory was informed by her personal fashion perspective, treating the beauty store stock as one would a wardrobe. Her exploration of which brands are best for her target demographic evolved from there. "What started as very strict natural and organic brands grew into brands that are effective, not just natural and organic," Richards says. "The modern woman does not only shop organic." Shen is exemplary as a 34-and-under cosmetics mecca, not only because of the heavily vetted brands and products but also because of the knowledgeable sales staff. Richards says she makes sure her employees "truly understand and want to help, not necessarily oversell, the customer." The Shen shopper gets a taste of the millennial expe- rience she expects. To make her feel at home, Richards adds, "We strive to bring her under our wing and help her cure whatever problem her skin may be having." She trains employees to function as brand ambassadors, so customers trust and seek out their knowledge. "We like to launch newness with a story to tell. Many people are not storytellers like we are; we want the customers to know what they are buying, why it was made and how it is going to help them," she says. Part of the Shen model is to offer customers an opportunity to receive beauty services using the products for sale in the store. With a keen eye, Richards identified the need for this element of iGeneration customization: The neighborhood lacked estheticians, and she noticed that women wanted to try the products first, as some of them are quite expensive. However, smaller brands did not offer samples. "We use all our products on our shelves in the treatment rooms and tailor each treatment to the person's skin type," Richards explains. To her, iGen, millennials and Gen Xers differ from boomers in skin type and budget more than anything else. Richards sees interest in natural products spreading to women of all ages. "I think boomers are becoming more aware than ever of the harmful chemicals in skin care, and thus are truly looking to learn and care for themselves," she says, noting that what started as a trend has become pervasive in the industry–and a brand expectation. RETAIL'S REVAMP While this type of business model may come naturally for Richards, bigger retailers are undertaking major revisions in both stock and appearance to adapt to the younger demographic. Nordstrom expanded their natural beauty offering to include Well Beauty products online and in 38 locations starting in January 2018. The expanded category includes the "beauty while you sleep" concept (with brands such as Hum, Moon Juice, Slip and The Beauty Chef); an aromatherapy category (featuring Aromatherapy Associates, Esym and Vitruvi); a self-care category (African Botanics, Agent Nateur, Karma Bliss, Kopari, NuFace, Pursoma and Yuni); and the promise of beauty from within via supplements (such as Chalait and Glotrition). To truly achieve a revamp, Neiman Marcus turned their attention inward, recruiting younger employees to lead the charge and creating a section dedicated to iGen consumers. A Neiman Marcus executive revealed that the store is trying to appeal to consumers who discover new products through Instagram. The department store recently added 45 beauty lines, including 8Greens, The BrowGal, Edward Bess, Lawless Beauty and Sunday Riley–a vast change from the one to two brands formerly selected each season. In their Dallas location, the products will be housed under a neon sign that says "New, Now, Next." What does this mean for your store? When appealing to iGen and millennials, go for an element of authenticity in your inventory. When you believe in your products, your consumers can tell. "Look for the special brand and how it speaks to you. It doesn't necessarily have to be an entire offering; it could just be one SKU that you stand behind and you are consistently sold out," Richards says. "This is your story to tell, and what you want your business to tell." ■ Emilie Branch is a writer based out of New York, NY. Riley Rose, created by Forever 21's Linda and Esther Chang, features a "trending now" beauty section Ð as well as tools, electronics, accessories and home décor. Courtesy of Riley Rose

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