Ask Alison: How beauty brands are getting up close and personal with digitised stores

Posted on by Disneyrollergirl

Here’s the latest ‘Ask Alison’ post from retail expert and DRG contributor, ALISON BISHOP, looking at the emergence of interactive digital stores coming from the premium beauty sector

Bobbi-Brown-beauty-store-Covent Garden

It’s official; Covent Garden has become London’s Beauty Quarter when it comes to stores. Luxury brands Chanel, Dior and Burberry all opened mini beauty flagships here in the last couple of years while Marc Jacobs followed recently with its Tweet Shop pop-up. Now prestige beauty brands Clinique and Bobbi Brown (above) are experimenting with new, highly personal store concepts.

This cluster of beauty retail temples is a sign that luxury brands consider the sector a growing market, where millennial consumers like to experiment with new products and get personal advice. Christopher Bailey recently announced that expanding Burberry’s beauty offer is ‘on his 2015 to do list’, and judging by its digital artwork backdrop at Dior’s brand new Greene Street, New York store, we might well be in for a creative ‘phygital’ approach to beauty for Dior’s Bond Street flagship renovations. That giant floral digital display is crying out for installation in a perfume or cosmetics department, no?

So as luxury brands get in on the cosmetics act, beauty brands are finding the need to up the ante when it comes to premium stores and VIP-level customer service. Cue Clinique and Bobbi Brown, who have both launched stores in the last month that focus on one-to-one experiences at their new Covent Garden flagships.

Clinique combines data-mining and lab-style store design at its new 700 sq ft retail concept called the Great Skin Lab. Billed as a digital experience that will guide consumers through a ‘day in the life of their skin’, the store houses interactive pods and a moisturising station, where shoppers answer a series of questions on their lifestyle to determine their future skincare needs. The level of service here beats the department store scrum hands down. You can easily spend an hour investing in some serious ‘me & my skin’ time to reap rewards later.

Meanwhile, Bobbi Brown’s new Studio flagship store, her fourth in the UK, is just next door. Studio stores are designed to help foster a type of cosmetics community, encouraging customers to think out loud about their favourite looks, what works for them and what doesn’t. The staff then brings those problems or scenarios to life via learning-led tutorials, making everyone a pro – a service at the heart of the Bobbi Brown philosophy.

The interior style is SoHo loft, with a central artistry table where playful testing is encouraged. One wall uses an LED display to show pages from Bobbi’s sketchbook and concept diary. Called The Inspiration Wall, it gives a snapshot into the world of Bobbi Brown, as well as a closer look at some of her best selling products. New at the Covent Garden store is the DIY shopping experience where visitors can browse iPads showing content from a designated skincare apothecary and follow up with experts in-store to discuss routines and cosmetic choices from the artistry table. There is a whole suite dedicated to Bobbi Brown’s updated menu of make-up lessons.

All we need now is for subscription box beauty product specialist Birchbox to follow its data-driven New York store with one here in beauty-central Covent Garden. #YesPlease. And surely it’s just a matter of time before BeautyMART sets up shop here too?

For luxury brands, beauty represents a new frontier that allows younger customers to experiment with aspirational products at affordable price points. Destination stores are everything and are increasingly trumping the beauty industry’s traditional department store counter culture. With the allure of personalisation plus retail theatre to engage customers, premium beauty brands are joining the fray where dedicated flagships allow brands to gain market share and a bigger, stronger fan base.

Follow ALISON BISHOP on Twitter, read her previous guest posts on Disneyrollergirl and read more of her retail insights on her blog, The Retail Planner.

Crème de la Mer Intensive Revitalising Mask – a hangover cure for your face

Posted on by Disneyrollergirl


Autumn skin is a bitch isn’t it?

The combo of weird weather, cranked-up central heating, comfort eating, over-drinking and under-exercising all add up to – in my case – bumpy, greige and generally knackered-looking skin. My usual solution is to slap on a bit more make-up and carry on eating cake. I don’t generally indulge in pricy skin treatments or creams, I have a fear that I’ll get hooked and won’t be able to keep up the habit. But Crème de la Mer asked me if I’d like to try its new Intensive Revitalising Mask and in a post-LFW break-out haze, I thought well, why not?

Billed as an eight-minute spa-like ritual, it deploys Crème de la Mer’s famous ‘miracle broth’ (a unique blend of antioxidants and skin boosting marine algae) in a lightweight, easily-absorbed cream. It comes in a 75ml tube and you’re advised to apply a generous layer to face and neck. As you press it into your skin, you inhale the aromatherapeutic scent of grapefruit, mint and helichrysum, designed to reduce stress and soothe your mood. I tried mine at night as I’m a recent convert to the night-time wind-down of a muslin-clothed, double-cleansing routine. As an aromatherapy fan, the inhaling and massaging is the bit I loved. It feels a bit meditative and reinforces the idea of taking time out for yourself, especially as the mask gives a comforting warming effect as it sinks in.

The instructions say to leave for eight minutes. After that you can either tissue off or leave it on for an intensive overnight mask. Well, there was no way I was going to tissue it off and in fact, most had already absorbed by the eighth minute. I didn’t feel the need for a moisturiser on top, so fast forward to next morning and I did notice significantly brighter, plump-looking skin and a uniform skintone.

Although Crème de la Mer The Intensive Revitalising Mask can be used every day, at £105 that feels extravagant. So what works for me is using it a couple of times a week during hectic times when I’m neglecting my skin a bit. I see it as much as a feel-good pampering treat as a skin-booster. I also prefer to a use penny sized amount than a generous dollop, thus making my tube go twice as far. Yes, this is an expensive indulgence but for those who can splash out, it yields impressive results – especially at this time of year when it makes a great hangover cure for your face. (Footnote: guys can use it too.)

You can buy Crème de la Mer The Intensive Revitalising Mask here and here. Alternatively, if you want to try it first, buy the full size from which comes with a free 5ml sample. If you don’t like it, you can send the unopened full size tube back.

WORDS AND PICTURE: Navaz Batliwalla/Disneyrollergirl

DRG Edit: Jo Malone London Christmas treats (going fast…)

Posted on by Disneyrollergirl


JO MALONE LONDON always crack out the best beauty gifts and novelties for Christmas. They revealed all to the press back in July, as most brands do with their ‘Christmas In July’ showcases. (These are a real treat – M&S pulled out the stops, wheeling in a host of food suppliers to ply us with chocolates, hams, every type of tangerine and satsuma, I won’t go on….) This year we got a mini ice rink and every permutation of Jo Malone London favourites you could hope for.

And now is the time to buy as it has all arrived on counter and some things are already selling out. Continue reading


Posted on by Disneyrollergirl

Here’s the latest weekly DRG STYLE INDEX ranking, a round-up of the brands currently buzzing on my radar…


Marc Jacobs Beauty shoppable Instagram

Oh the bane of not being able to shop from Instagram! Marc Jacobs Beauty couldn’t stand it any longer and has set up a tool just for Insta-shoppers. It’s a bit like, and thus, slightly clunky. Continue reading

One for the boys: Tom Ford’s beard maintenance kit

Posted on by Disneyrollergirl

Tom Ford launches beard oil and a beard comb

Tom Ford
nails it again. Who knew beard oil was a must-have? But clocking the trend for beards and their maintenance, he has just introduced a mini range of beard grooming products including Swiss-made beard combs (£28) and the soon-to-be-cult conditioning beard oil (£40). Continue reading


Posted on by Disneyrollergirl

Here’s the latest weekly DRG STYLE INDEX ranking, a round-up of the brands currently buzzing on my radar…


Moroccan Tea Eau de Toilette from & Other Srories

& Other Stories just gets everything right. It launched its first US store in New York last month to rave reviews and last week entered the fragrance market. There are four eau de toilettes (£26): Moroccan Tea, Punk Bouquet, Fig Fiction and Botanic Whisper. The packaging has a whiff of Maison Martin Margiela about it, with the apothecary bottles and utilitarian white labels. Continue reading

Quote of the day: Helen Mirren

Posted on by Disneyrollergirl


“I am not gorgeous, I never was, but I was always OK-looking and I’m keen to stay that way…I hope I can inspire other women towards greater confidence by making the most of their natural good looks. We are all worth it!”
Helen Mirren quoted in The Guardian, in an excellent piece by Alyson Walsh (AKA That’s Not My Age) on older women in beauty advertising

Aerin Essentials and two new fragrances

Posted on by Disneyrollergirl


Aerin Lauder is really getting into her stride as a flag bearer of no-brainer beauty, a slightly girlier version of Bobbi Brown if you will.

Where Bobbi is all about the everyday make-up in graphic, black packaging, AERIN does the same job but with luxe golden compacts and pastel-pink or pastel-printed boxes. The prints are a really nice (and original) touch that have become a brand signature. If you know anything about Aerin Lauder (not that I’m obsessed or anything), you’ll know she’s all about the NY-Hamptons lifestyle, with plenty of outdoorsy inspiration driving the brand aesthetic. Continue reading


Posted on by Disneyrollergirl

Here’s the latest weekly DRG STYLE INDEX ranking, a round-up of the brands currently buzzing on my radar…



Get ready for a very cool Disney collaboration with Danish brand Wood Wood coming to London. Wood Wood chose to stretch and distort classic 30s cartoons of Mickey Mouse, printing the designs on clothes and accessories for men and women. The prints are quite subversive so I’m surprised Disney gave it the go ahead – it’s known for being extremely protective of the brand’s imagery. Continue reading

Coming soon: Les Rouges Culte De Chanel

Posted on by Disneyrollergirl

1 Les-Rouges-Culte-de-Chanel main

Why on earth would anyone want to start their Christmas shopping now? Er, maybe because if you don’t, all the funnest goodies will be gone?

The limited edition novelty beauty gift has become quite the mini industry in recent years – the legendary Selfridges advent calendar (yep, sold out already), the This Works tree bauble, the Jo Malone cracker (arriving on counter November 1st) all spring to mind.

And then there’s the curve ball. That thing that pops up that isn’t strictly holiday-flavoured but just happens to perfectly suit the festive season. So here’s my prediction for the there-will-be-tears 2014 scrum – it’s from Chanel of course…

Say hello to Les Rouges Culte De Chanel, a trio of re-released 1980s nail polishes in festive red. Continue reading

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...