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Brief Published: 3 Jul 2017

Custom Beauty: St. Ives Mixing Bar

St. Ives Mixing Bar

Plugging into the booming appetite for customisation, St. Ives – the Unilever-owned brand of lotions and face scrubs – has launched a six-week Mixing Bar pop-up in SoHo, New York. 

The highlight of this experiential, trend-focused initiative is the eponymous mixing bar, which allows customers to order personalised products. Visitors can choose either a body lotion or exfoliating facial scrub made from 20 of the brand’s newer ingredients, including honeydew melon, pink lychee, ginger, and cacao shell powder. Fifty different combinations are possible in total and shoppers can also pick the product’s level of richness or abrasion. Visitors can then watch a sales associate create their product, who describes the benefits of each ingredient.

Fresh plant arrangements are placed throughout the 1,800 sq ft. interior (see Biophilia-Boosted Store Designs for more on the commercial benefits of embracing nature in-store), while visitors can test new products in three sinks at the rear. Other features include a touchscreen vending machine that distributes complementary samples, and a mirrored photo booth decorated with fake apricots (the apricot scrub is one of St. Ives’ bestsellers) for shoot-and-share social media moments.

Additionally, the pop-up stocks exclusive limited-edition merchandise that isn’t available elsewhere, including scented candles. It runs until July 30.

For more on personalisation, see Customisation-Courting Flagships and ‘Light Assistance’ Product Playgrounds in Beauty Flagships. See also Bespoke Beauty: New Retail Strategy, Sephora’s ‘Greatest Hits’ Flagship and L’Occitane Guide & Play Flagship.

For more on the value of participatory purchasing, see Active Flagships: Tapping the Experiential Economy.