Teen-focused South Korean cosmetics label Etude House has transformed its flagship store in Myeong-dong, one of Seoul's key tourist magnets. Using customisation, it has modernised its cutesy "Sweet Dream" philosophy – aka "pleasant products for women who dream of a unique life".
Customisation remains a major retail lure. A 2017 global study by the IBM Institute of Business Value and the National Retail Federation reveals that 44% of Gen Z would like to submit ideas for product design, if given the opportunity.
Created by British design agency Dalziel & Pow, the three-storey store, which now bears an impossible-to-miss Disneyland-esque façade, has been restaged as an interactive beauty destination grounded in digital experiences.
On the ground floor, customers explore products while socialising around a large oval table. The mezzanine-level Personal Studio hosts the My Colour Finder and My Colour Draping "immersive tutorial" areas, where visitors can match their skin tones to the most suitable cosmetic colours, using a specialist face scanner. These are complemented by a Find your Look demo space providing how-to skincare and make-up application guides, assisted by staff.
Offering a more playful approach is the Colour Factory on the second floor. Its central feature is the My Lips Bar (designed and developed by Korean digital agency Innored) where visitors can blend lipsticks to achieve their colour of choice – an experience sealed with personally monogrammed (engraved) lipstick cases.
Indicative of the power of participatory retail experiences (see also Active Flagships), Etude House's flagship is already out-trading the brand's other stores.