In a bid to shake up the traditional model of in-store beauty retailing, San Francisco-based make-up brand Bare Minerals has debuted a new concept boutique dubbed Shade Shop in SoHo, New York, where products are merchandised by skin shade.
The bright and airy gallery-like ground floor is flanked on one side by high wooden testing stations arranged by light, medium, tan, dark and deep skin shades, while the opposite wall features smaller stations of crossover products for the eyes, lips and cheeks. While the number of shades is currently limited, the concept does acknowledge the growing consumer demand for more ethnically diverse cosmetics ranges. See also Future Beauty: Science & Technology 2013 (The Next Device Frontier: Skin Analysis section features French beauty brand Sephora’s skin-tone reading Color IQ machine).
Although the boutique has been designed as a space to test new concepts, the merchandising by shade will continue throughout the store’s two-year lease. The brand will refresh the shop’s theme seasonally, with the first transformation happening just before the holiday season.
The entrance wall is dedicated to portraits of women (both models and the brand's employees – see also New Brand Ambassadors) with responses to the question: "What makes you feel beautiful?". The online community is invited to share their responses via the hashtag #bareyourself. For more on the use of retail concepts with an educational or community-focused edge, see also Community & Commerce and Specialise to Survive.
The upper level of the store is a bright, blank canvas, which will be used for special events and community activities such as workshops, girlfriend parties (group ‘make-under’ sessions) and special conversations with Leslie Blodgett, creator of the brand.
The Shade Shop follows the opening of US subscription-based beauty e-tailer Birchbox’s first store in SoHo, which is also revamping the traditional beauty store experience by organising products by type, not brand. See our full blog post for more, as well as Beauty Retailing Trends 2014.