Written by Ivanna Woods
On Friday, November 20th Sephora celebrated the grand opening of their flagship store at 33 Powell Street in San Francisco. The redesigned mega-store features digital touch screen technology stations, a Fragrance IQ station, Skincare IQ and a Color IQ system where shoppers can 'teach, inspire and play', thus creating a very unique, customer specific beauty experience each shopper.
The 8,500 square foot Powell Sephora closed for renovations approximately 11 months ago and now sells over 13,000 products and 12 new brands. Chosungah 22, a Korean beauty brand, is one collection exclusively sold only at this location. The new look is lighter, brighter and modernly tech-savvy, very reflective of the time we're in. Pops of color amidst stark white backgrounds catch the eye, creating a delightful visual experience - perfect to intrigue shopping!
Speaking of delight, twenty-year old Serayah McNeill Empire actress brought the celebrity pizazz and a bevy of fans lined up hours in advance to get a chance to meet the rising star. McNeil deemed herself a longtime fan of Sephora, and of beauty products overall. "Call me silly," she told fans via Twitter, "but I always feel super inspired after I leave Sephora." Serayah says she swears by Sephora's Cream Lip Stain in Strawberry Kissed. Serayah was styled by Wayman + Micah dress by Moschino.
CEO Calvin McDonald reported to WWD that this location is the new model for all future locations. "Some of the locations, depending upon the size, will get all parts of this new design; others may just get components of it, but this was designed not as a single store," McDonald says. "It was designed as a vision for the majority of our current doors and the new one's we're bringing."
The intention is to encourage customers to 'Teach, Inspire, and Play - these principles are also the acronym for the new store name, SephoraBeauty TIP Workshop. "When a client comes in and experiences TIP, she's going to experience it on her own, she's going to experience it through cast members, and she's going to experience it through technology," McDonald tells WWD. "And that's where we really see our differentiator being and how we're going to continue to innovate."
At the center of the beauty empire at Powell's heart lies the Beauty Workshop, consisting of a line of mirrors and 12 seats where shoppers can watch makeup tutorials on an iPad and get personal consultations. The Color IQ system features concealers, foundations and lip colors to cater to diverse skin tones and pigment preferences. The Fragrance IQ station allows shoppers to choose from scent categories and actually smell it from puffs of air Sephora calls Insta-scent. The Skincare IQ can enter products they are looking for or skin issues they're experiencing and the tech savvy station generates a list of suggested products. Shoppers may also get mini-facials for free and try products at this four seat, running water station.
There's one feature that is still in development called Sephora Virtual Artist. It allows shoppers to try on over 2,200 lip shades on the company's app on a smartphone. The launch is expected for early next year. Sephora locations throughout the country are scheduled to be revamped next year. Boston's Prudential Garden is set to be redesigned starting February 2016.