The Allure Store at 191 Lafayette Street, New York City, is a small and carefully curated edit of the beauty world. It opened in early July with about 280 makeup, haircare, and skincare products from more than 150 brands, said to be handpicked by the magazine’s own beauty experts. All the brands have been previously featured in Allure.
The store is a first for the Condé Nast title, which attracts 12.6 million users online and calls itself “the beauty expert.” While it won’t get that level of footfall, its customers will expect something very different from the Still Here NY-clad store staff who represent a trusted voice in the beauty arena.
Allure departing Editor in Chief Michelle Lee commented, “This space provides an extraordinary opportunity to highlight Allure’s favorite brands, and gives shoppers the chance to experience our editors’ picks, including the Best of Beauty Award winners, all in one place.”
Bringing the pages of Allure into a physical retail space is, no doubt, enticing for many, not least Condé Nast as a means of extending the brand. Markus Grindel, Managing Director of Global Brand Licensing, said, “As consumers return to in-store shopping, innovation is critical to cut through the noise. Allure Store is reimagining retail with an entirely new approach to beauty, creating a first of its kind, 360-degree immersive experience.”
“This space provides an extraordinary opportunity to highlight Allure’s favorite brands, and gives shoppers the chance to experience our editors’ picks."
By Michelle Lee, Editor in Chief, Allure
An auspicious time to open
The store—operated as a partnership between Condé Nast and the Stour Group—has opened when Allure is celebrating its 30th anniversary and has also experienced a 5% year-over-year increase in traffic. That could be due to a lockdown lift more than anything else.
Nevertheless, given that in the US alone Allure’s readers spend $5 billion annually on beauty according to Stour, the store could become influential. And keeping a slice of that spending in Condé Nast’s pocket wouldn’t do any harm either. The company told us: “We hope we can open further stores in the U.S., developed on a case by case and market by market basis.”
Condé Nast—the publisher of a string of prestigious titles like Glamour, Vogue and Vanity Fair—added, “We are increasingly focused on the direct-to-consumer (D2C) experience.” The publisher has form on such projects. It opened a permanent Wired store last year at Newark Liberty International Airport, which serves New York City and surrounds, and it has several branded restaurant ventures worldwide such as Vogue Café, the seventh of which appeared last November in Beijing.
Condé Nast knows the value of its brands and how to leverage them, and the Allure Store is essentially a touchpoint to speak to consumers in another, more novel way. “It is an extension of the 2D experience online and in print that is curated, and shoppable in-person,” said the Condé Nast spokesperson.
Key aspects of the store include:
- Products from the magazine’s iconic Best of Beauty Awards, a seal that generates $82 million in revenue for the brands who receive it, according to Stour
- Seasonal product changes
- Skin, hair, and body lines categorized by headline
- Tech features such as augmented reality, enabling customers to try products virtually, and QR codes to give customers instant multimedia content and the possibility of digital self-checkout
- Smart mirrors to let users create their own looks
- Editorial-led brand selections
- In-store events, tutorials, and masterclasses hosted by Allure’s editorial team.
Some of the current featured brands include: BeautyStat Cosmetics, Uhai, Danessa Myricks Beauty, Live Tinted, Emilie Heathe, Neutrogena, La Roche-Posay, Dermalogica, Bobbi Brown. There are also a number of brands exclusively available DTC or in the store. Condé Nast told us, “Multiple products stocked in Allure Store have previously been available professionally but never stocked in a retail environment.”
"The in-store environment is an experience in itself with live events and new interactive tools that are primed for social sharing."
By Jayme Jenkins, co-founder and Chief Brand Officer, Everist
A champion for niche beauty?
Right now, beauty brands are happy with the new concept. Aneil Manhas, founder & CEO at electric toothbrush maker Brüush, told us: “We were excited to jump into this opportunity with Allure, not only because of their beauty authority, but for the novel concept behind the store.
“This space provides an elevated and experiential opportunity for Brüush, and is also situated amongst other exciting new brands. It is a great awareness builder for us—an exciting way to utilize the Allure media property in real life and it will be interesting to evaluate its success and see others follow suit.”
Jayme Jenkins, co-founder and Chief Brand Officer at waterless haircare brand Everist, added, “We love the curation and also the ability to demo our product. Showing the sensorial experience of Everist—the scent and lather for example—is very important, so having experienced staff and the right set up is key. The in-store environment is an experience in itself with live events and new interactive tools that are primed for social sharing.”
Definitely in Allure Store’s favor is its ability to champion newcomer niche brands that may be crowded out trying to get onto the shelves of Ulta and Sephora. Editorial-led selections give small brands a way in. Manhas said, “For up and coming brands the Allure Store democratizes the accessibility to participate. For many DTC or new brands, this could be a first foray into brick and mortar.”
Jenkins agrees: “Customers love discovering something new, and especially when it’s been vetted by a beauty authority like Allure. The mix of tried-and-true and emerging brands is what makes this concept so interesting.”
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