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Brief Published: 31 May 2013

Customised Beauty: Bite’s Custom Lips Lab, NY


‘All-natural’ Toronto-based lip-care brand Bite, which was previously sold exclusively in French beauty chain Sephora, has opened its first standalone store – a pop-up in Soho, New York. In a bid to underscore its brand mantra of “Edgy, Edible Innovation for Lips”, it marked the debut with a unique bar facility, where the brand’s lipsticks are customised to order.

Dubbed the Bite Lip Lab, the space taps into the growing value of placing the act of making and explaining at the centre of the retail experience – as explored in both Show & Tell Retail: Revealing the Product Journey, and The Rise of Edutainment.  

In a consciously entertainment-fuelled collision of art and science, Bite’s sales associate lip experts demonstrate the seven-minute making process by combining a selection of existing lipstick colours to create a ‘signature colour’ for each customer. The bullets of lipstick are then melted; scent is added (think cherry, violet, peppermint, or super-fruit); and the mix poured into moulds to harden.

Revealing how the lipsticks are made also provides a beguiling sense of brand transparency – an issue riding higher on many consumers’ agendas, but also an essential strategy for a company whose mission to create chemical-free lipsticks comes with the tagline ‘good enough to eat.’ See Positive Provenance for more on how delivering deeper levels of brand transparency can boost brand value and improve consumer relations.

The temporary store is open until the end of late summer/early autumn, at which point it will be converted into a permanent one. According to the brand, we should expect an even more experiential store space, including ‘play stations’ for colour.

For more on custom culture in the beauty sector, see Future Beauty: Retail & Marketing 2013. For more on chemical-free, edible beauty products, see Edible Beauty.