Why Space NK is powering pop-ups for emerging beauty brands


“Our goal is to be the global partner of choice for beauty brands, especially when launching in the UK market,” says Space NK’s chief merchandising officer Margaret Mitchell. “We see a huge benefit from being able to help build their brand equity and tell their story. That resonates with both brands and our customers. Strategically, it’s very important to us to be a strong partner in brand building.”

Space NK’s first pop-up was for Drunk Elephant, helping the Shiseido-owned skincare brand when it entered the UK in 2018. Queues stretched around the block, also in Covent Garden, to visit the pop-up, dubbed The House of Drunk. It established a blueprint, but then the pandemic put a halt to further activity. Space NK returned to hosting pop-ups in March this year, for Selena Gomez’s makeup brand Rare Beauty, also new to the UK.

“We see these stores as an excellent mechanism for launching a brand into a market where it hasn’t been available before. Customers might not be familiar with what they offer and stand for,” says Mitchell. Space NK supports its partners with location scouting, staffing, store training and event hosting, she says. “When Space NK powers a pop-up, we also provide many other things as part of a 360-degree activation to help bring the brand to life and drive traffic.”

Space NK’s partnership with Tatcha for the brand’s UK debut was a no-brainer, says Mitchell. Tatcha has been high in demand at Space NK for “a long time”, with thousands of searches via its e-commerce site. May Yee of Tatcha says the pop-up isn’t intended to drive sales directly but will heighten brand awareness. “We want visitors to have the complete Tatcha experience.” That includes meditation sessions in a tea house, workshops to learn about Japanese wellbeing rituals, and live demonstrations from ikebana flower arranging and origami experts.

London’s Covent Garden, under landlord Capco, has become a magnet for emerging and established beauty brands, with Tom Ford, Chanel, Dior, Aesop, Charlotte Tilbury and Glossier all opening stores in recent years. New stores coming up in May include LVMH-owned Guerlain and an upsized unit for Space NK. Tatcha will occupy 2-3 James Street, which has also housed a pop-up from British ingredients-based skincare brand The Inkey List. “The nature of the neighbourhood is vibrant,” explains Michelle McGrath, executive director of Capco, which has owned the market halls and several other buildings since 2006. “A lot of brands generally see their customers here. There’s always strong demand [for retail space], although it is highest among the beauty industry.”

Pop-up concept full of appeal

Space NK has over 70 retail locations across the UK and Ireland, but believes it’s important to host pop-ups separate to its existing stores, says Margaret Mitchell, explaining that “the look and feel of each brand is different”. Rare Beauty appreciated the opportunity. “We had never done a pop-up before and Space NK brought this concept to us,” recalls Rare Beauty chief sales officer Kim Magee.“We loved the idea of hosting a cafe where our beauty community could gather and discover our products and interact in a safe space. With [Space NK’s] expertise in the market, we got a great location right by Oxford Street. Space NK did a lot of heavy lifting and it resulted in a lot of buzz. Over 8,500 people visited the store.”


Source link