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Keeping Up with the Pop-Ups: Beauty's Recent Retail Installations

Published August 24, 2023
Published August 24, 2023
Stefanie Keenan

Beauty's latest pop-up shops come in all different shapes and sizes. Adding to yet another successful Barbie marketing partnership, Lush created a mini Barbie Dreamhouse in London's Soho that even Barbie herself would approve of. Following in the footsteps of Fable & Mane and Clinique's festival activations, About-Face Beauty popped up at the Lollapalooza festival, offering exclusive products catered to the event. BeautyMatter rounds up the recent need-to-know pop-up activations:

Thayers: After Thayers' acquisition by L'Oréal in 2020, the brand set out to target Gen Z consumers, hoping to feel the positive impact of the generation's spending power. As part of the target-consumer repositioning, Thayers increased its social media presence and began interacting with its current and potential Gen Z consumers through apps such as TikTok. To market this rebrand, the brand partnered with Backlash Creative (the marketing agency behind NYX Professional Makeup's Barbie Dreamhouse) to present the "WTF Is a Toner?" pop-up in Battersea, South London. The activation was created to say goodbye to the brand's traditional apothecary look and welcome "an unapologetic and confident rebrand asking everyone to own their skin." The pop-up was designed to look like a British telephone box with an edgy feel, decorated in a bold red to resemble Thayer's classic packaging. The temporary shop featured images of Gen Z models using Thayers bestsellers attached to the walls, and graffiti, including statements reading "take down pores" and "small pore energy." Consumers were encouraged to immerse themselves in the experience, which presented many photo opportunities, as well as games, promotional offers on Thayers products, and educational sections that explained each product's benefits.

About-Face: Halsey's cosmetics brand popped up at Lollapalooza in Chicago in collaboration with Ulta Beauty. Dubbed Beauty Stop, the temporary shop was a destination for festivalgoers to learn more about the brand and indulge in makeup. The store setup amplified Lollapalooza's festival aesthetic, with palm trees dotted around the venue and walls decorated with bold neon shades, including pink, red, and green. Exclusive to the pop-up, customers could pick up an About-Face Festival Kit, which included Matte Fluid Eye Paint, Light Lock Lip Gloss, Lollapalooza limited-edition pin, and a Dickies Crossbody bag designed by Halsey that held all of the products. Inside the store, mirrors lit up by LED lights in shades that matched the bold hues of product offerings were decorated with codes that attendees could text on their mobiles to receive a 25% discount on all purchases at the space. Makeup artists were on hand, offering free makeovers, product advice, and top-ups of pre-applied makeup looks.

Lush x Barbie: Barbie fever is showing no signs of slowing down, thanks to Mattel's latest cosmetics collaboration with Lush. Taking place in London's Soho, the activation runs for six weeks until mid-September and celebrates all things pink, offering limited-edition Barbie-inspired SKUs, including bath bombs, perfumes, shampoos, and more, designed to look as though Barbie herself would use them. Every inch of the store is embellished in hot pink, from the floor tiles to the walls, inspired by the Barbie Dreamhouse, with a life-sized kitchen, shower, and lounge space, providing countless Instagram opportunities for those in attendance. For the collaboration, Lush ditched its classic black pot product containers and swapped them out for classic Barbie pink, with customers able to bring these back to the store once finished and receive a 50p discount per pot on their next purchase. To accompany visitors during their stay, complimentary pink refreshments were on hand, stored in Barbie's flamingo-pink refrigerator.

Briogeo: The clean haircare brand celebrated its tenth anniversary at The Grove in LA. The temporary shop was presented as a mobile truck, which offered opportunities for consumers to get involved both inside and outside. Before entering the truck, visitors were able to pose for photo opportunities against a Briogeo backdrop, accompanied by a giant wide-tooth comb that read "clean care, healthy hair." Vintage TVs were dotted around the outside of the shop, showcasing campaign advertisements and pleasing visuals of the brand's products. Once inside, attendees could learn more about the brand, try out product samples, and take videos and photos on a vintage camcorder, of which a select few were showcased on the TVs surrounding the activation. Across the three-day activation, Briogeo CEO Nancy Twine was on-site to greet consumers and fans, providing them with answers to any questions about the brand straight from the source.

Loved01: John Legend's melanin-rich skincare brand hosted its first-ever pop-up activation at Westfield Century City. The short-term shop was decorated with a sleek, minimalistic, and clean aesthetic, with soft brown walls and beige sofas, creating a sense of comfort. Product tables were placed around the venue, including cleansers, body washes, shaving cream, and more, accompanied by lifestyle imagery of Legend utilizing the products and campaign videos featured on screens throughout the venue. To celebrate the opening of the store, Legend performed live on opening day to a small audience; the event was ticketed with pricing beginning at $10 a person, and all proceeds went to Legend's charity HumanLevel, which works to uplift communities that have been disproportionately impacted by institutionalized racism. After the performance, Legend gave a speech on the brand's mission and a walk-through on the formulations of Loved01's products, explaining how they work to benefit the skin.

La Roche-Posay: In 2020, La Roche-Posay founded Acne Positivity Day on September 1 to "spread acceptance for all skin, encourage others to embrace their unique skin journeys, and foster healthy relationships between people and their skin." As part of the lead-up to Acne Positivity Day 2023, the brand hosted the Acne Positivity Lab, offering education, advice, and access to acne-friendly products. Inside the pop-up, visitors were invited to explore the Science of Skin exhibition that explained the reasoning behind skin conditions and how to overcome them. The store featured several other elements spread out across an ample space, including a meditation lounge in partnership with obé Fitness, the Doodle Bar with custom art from local artists, and a Positivity Photo Booth. Dotted around the area, mirrors could be found with uplifting affirmations, including "I love my skin" and "Progress, not perfection." Complimentary refreshments of Culture POP probiotic soda were provided, as well as no-charge samples of La Roche-Posay products. During the time the store was in place, a range of dermatologists were brought into the exhibition, answering queries and further educating consumers on their own personal acne journeys.

Decorté: The Japanese beauty brand popped up at Bloomingdale's 59th Street Flagship Store in NYC to offer customers an "experimental journey into the world of Japanese beauty and the unique sensorial nature of Decorté products." The temporary shop focused on one of the brand's bestsellers, the Liposome Advanced Repair Serum, which is said to be the number-one-selling serum in Japan. The store was set up with mirrors and beauty stations, all of which were purple to coincide with the product's deep purple packaging. A Japanese Gashapon (gift machine) sat in the corner of the store, replicating a bottle of the serum; customers were given a branded coin to activate this machine, receiving free samples from its dispenser. Those in attendance were also offered the opportunity to receive a mini-facial for a hydrating boost. During the facial, experts walked the visitors through the product's benefits and explained unique skincare techniques such as the Guasha Plate, which can be used to promote lymphatic drainage and improved blood circulation, among several other skin health benefits.


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