Australian beauty retailer Mecca is taking its first steps into the highly competitive Chinese market, launching a luxury flagship store through a partnership with Alibaba’s Tmall Global. The site launched with an initial offering of more than 200 stock-keeping units across 22 brands, approximately one-third of the assortment is Australian.
“I started Mecca with the desire to make every customer look and feel their best. From our very first store in the Melbourne suburb of South Yarra, to now launching in China our second international market, we have stayed true to this philosophy over the last 23 years,” said Mecca founder Jo Horgan in a statement. “I am thrilled that we are assisting Chinese customers, some of the most well-informed beauty shoppers in the world, to unearth incredible new brands and products and know that once they experience the Mecca magic, it will be love at first ‘add to cart.’”
Built on its keen eye for curation of niche and luxury brands, the retailer has launched an edit of 22 first-to-market brands on its Tmall store, with 14 being exclusive, including its private-label brands Mecca Brands and Mecca Max, Australian brands Frank Body, Go-To, Lanolips, The Beauty Chef, Ere Perez, and international lines Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare, Cosmetics27, Goldfield & Banks, Sol de Janeiro, and Merci Handy.
“China is the second-largest premium beauty market globally, behind the United States,” Horgan continued. “In three years’ time it’s predicted to be the number-one market. And consumer dynamics in China are changing in Mecca’s favor; there’s a growing interest in niche, premium brands, in more international brands.”
The retailer is not just showing up with brands—they intend to recreate the Mecca experience with 10 Hangzhou-based beauty advisors trained by Chinese-speaking Mecca employees from Australia and New Zealand to support the store. The Mecca Beauty Loop loyalty program, which boasts 1.9 million members in Australia and New Zealand, will be available to Tmall customers, with all orders shipped in Mecca-branded boxes.
For Horgan, customer service is integral to the DNA of Mecca: “We have been approached on so many occasions to go internationally in different shapes and forms. Our focus has always been on the customer experience, and we have the team and operations to support that in Australia and New Zealand. We’ve waited until we felt it was the right time to translate that to another market.”
Jo Horgan and her husband co-owner Peter Wetenhall have built Mecca Brands into a beauty retail powerhouse, revolutionizing the Australian market. Opening the first location in Melbourne’s upmarket South Yarra suburb in 1997, Mecca has grown to 109 brick-and-mortar stores in Australia and New Zealand, split between its three retail concepts: Mecca, Mecca Cosmetica, and Mecca Maxima, carrying 170 brands.
The Mecca website does not currently ship internationally so China represents the second international territory for Mecca Brands.
Photo: via Mecca