Whereas purchasing for magnificence merchandise, have you ever ever wished you can check that basis in pure mild? Or what it might seem like in a darkish bar? Or, much more importantly, a mirror that wasn’t crowded by different consumers? Jessica Richards has, and he or she’s taken these ideas very significantly within the much-anticipated new retail house for Shen Beauty, opening right now, just some blocks from the unique location within the neighborhood of Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. “My number one thing was mirrors—at all the beauty stores, from [the major chains] to the little ones, there are no mirrors,” Richards says. “You are buying beauty products; how are you supposed to look at yourself? It’s the weirdest thing. Our mirrors are full length; you can change the lighting since they adjust to morning, afternoon, evening and outdoor light.”
Shen Beauty has by no means been your typical magnificence retailer and that’s much more the case now. One in all Richards’ favourite issues concerning the new retailer is the design itself. “It’s been executed to a T, with no stone left unturned,” she says. “I’m going to pat myself and our design company on the back. It’s truly a store unlike any other beauty retail store that I’ve ever seen. It’s kind of perfect.” The ethereal new house is awash in pure mild, with the brightness enhanced by mild wooden. “The Shen Beauty customer experience was built around the idea of having a world-class beauty boutique at your fingertips,” says Ted Galperin of Mythology, the design studio who labored with Richards to create the house. “Since the store is in a residential neighborhood of Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, there is a community of local beauty cognoscenti that has made the brand so successful over the past decade and for whom we wanted to maintain a level of understated panache. The store design highlights this idea—we utilize humble plywood as our only building material to create custom ceiling, flooring, millwork and display fixtures, which allows for a neutral but nuanced backdrop to showcase the extensive variety of product lines.”
Earlier than opening the unique Shen in 2009, Richards obtained her first retail expertise working at a neighborhood boutique whereas she was in highschool in Laguna Seashore, California and liked it. She moved to Colorado for a yr and labored at a retailer there too. She had such a watch for purchasing that the proprietor fully revamped from a snowboard retailer to a streetwear one. After graduating from FIT, she obtained a job working for household pal Lauren Santo Domingo at Vogue. She obtained pregnant along with her first son and left the job, assuming she’d be a keep at dwelling mother. However she knew she wasn’t fitted to that both and when she wanted a brand new face cream someday however realized she’d must go to Manhattan to get one, she had an aha second. She determined to fill the void by opening her personal retail retailer. “I love interacting with customers,” she says. “I’m not a beauty addict. I’m more focused on what’s going to make my skin work—what’s the best mascara and best face cream? I don’t wear a lot of makeup, but I’ve always been a product junkie trying to figure out what works.”
Richards particularly needed to promote the merchandise she purchased on her travels that weren’t bought stateside and have become the primary to introduce a number of manufacturers to the US market, together with Amanda Lacey and Unstung Hero. Richards fastidiously curated a mix of below the radar indies and recognized manufacturers, which is the combination that Shen is understood for right now. “When we first opened, people were still shopping through advertisements and brand recognition,” she says. “Just because a brand was not well known and not on a billboard that didn’t mean it wasn’t a good brand—it was probably even better.” Finally, her philosophy swept the wonder world, as individuals have turn into extra acutely aware of elements, and so did manufacturers she was an early supporter of, like ILIA.
Initially, Richards envisioned completely promoting pure magnificence merchandise, however that modified over time. Although many of the merchandise at Shen Beauty are clear, there are a couple of that aren’t. “People still want those anchor brands, those tried and true brands that are efficacious,” she says. “Maybe they have chemicals in them, but I know they work. I don’t sell every product from Skinceuticals, but I sell two bottles of CE Ferulic a day because people know it works and they want it. Instead of sticking to organic and natural—whatever that term even means now—and drawing these stringent lines and alienating a type of customer that doesn’t care or still wants those products, I have blended it into being we focus on organic and clean but we also sell shit that works.” Plus, she notes that not all natural merchandise are good and secure. “I try to explain you can buy only organic groceries, but if you go out to eat, that food that restaurant serves you is pretty much not organic,” she says. “Why are we faking it here? Most consumers really don’t have an all or nothing view.”
The brand new Shen Beauty location had been within the works for over a yr. Together with her lease ending, Richards figured it was an ideal alternative to get a much bigger and higher house. The outdated retailer solely had two remedy rooms, so the wait listing to get a facial may very well be so long as three weeks. Now they’ve three remedy rooms and will likely be providing the identical providers as of their outdated retailer, together with brows and facials, as quickly as facials are permitted once more. “The old shop was too small,” Richards says. “We needed a larger footprint so that people weren’t on top of each other. I really wanted to take my last 10 years of what I’ve learned working for myself, Goop, Free People and Anthropologie and throw it into the store. There will be mistakes I’ve made that I haven’t even realized, but I know what other retailers have done wrong and I’m fixing those.”
That goes again to the mirrors, for instance, and including loads of house, which ended up being fortuitous with the adjustments in retail because of COVID-19. Within the entrance of the shop, every ground size mirror alternates with a bay of cabinets. “Every single person said to me you are losing sales per square foot, but I don’t care,” Richards says. “I want people to see themselves and feel comfortable. Now it turns out I have built in social distanced shopping.” Additionally they put in a sink on the gross sales ground, so shoppers can see every gross sales affiliate wash their arms previous to helping them. One other security precaution is that they sanitize the shop with UV lights each evening and put in a state-of-the-art air filtration HVAC system to sanitize the air correctly. Moreover, they added their very own laundry room, so sheets and towels for the remedy rooms don’t should be dealt with by different individuals and all the things is saved in-house, the place they’ve critical sanitizing protocols in place.
One other differentiator within the magnificence retail house is how the merchandise are displayed. Not like most shops, Richards didn’t need gondolas the place each model has their very own make-up show and none of them match. “I don’t think people should shop by makeup brand—they should shop by what works for you. Do you have dry skin, oily skin, acneic skin? That way you can find something that really is going to work for you.” Shen Beauty designed all of their very own make-up shows and Richards included hand-written suggestions on every of the merchandise. “I feel like people really understand that bite sized information,” she says. The textual content is a mix of sharing best-sellers, new launches, seasonal picks or why Shen loves it. For instance, throughout COVID she shared her favourite hand balm, so it’s time delicate as effectively. Shen Beauty will likely be including a couple of extra objects and types to their fastidiously curated combine, in addition to introducing a small assortment of dwelling items, corresponding to a cheeseboard, ceramics and olive oil made in Greece.
As soon as social distancing guidelines are lifted, Shen Beauty will start their Knowledgeable in Residency Collection. Earlier than their opening date was pushed again because of COVID-19, that they had slated their first masterclass with Barbara Sturm, adopted by Gucci Westman. Whether or not it’s studying about pores and skin varieties or nailing a basis match, every professional will share their experience. The courses are free—the one buy required is a present card that’s redeemable in product. “I don’t think you should have to pay to get an expert who owns a brand to help you,” Richards explains. “I don’t believe in people having to pay to use your product. It might be a great business models for others but I can’t believe in it.”
The Knowledgeable in Residency Collection is considered one of many examples why Richards nonetheless believes in brick and mortar, as there are many in-store experiences that merely can’t be replicated on-line. “I am a person who firmly believes in human interaction,” Richards says. “Even prior to COVID, people needed that human interaction behind email, texting or Instagram. You can buy products online but you’re not getting expert advice, or the glass of wine at 5 o’clock after you run into a friend when you’re buying moisturizer. No matter how far technology comes online, you cannot replicate walking into a store and touching a garment; you can’t replace going into a beauty store and walking out with your makeup and eyebrows done. That’s not replaceable.”