Live and do

Lush Cosmetics recently inaugurated their biggest store in Liverpool, a significant step in two ways: it shows how Lush wants to be seen and how – from now on – brands have to consider (some of) their stores. The almost 1500 sqm space includes a flower-covered facade, a Hair Lab (providing haircuts and hair treatments), a Perfume Library with books on perfumes, a six-cabin spa and even a flower shop selling locally sourced blooms, some of which are used to produce cosmetics made on-site.

In the past, the brand created a concept called Naked, which offered unpackaged products. The Liverpool store is almost the opposite because it’s all but austere. Even better: products are not only sold, they come to life. Simply stage them, even with refinement and drama, is no longer enough. A store must now be an incentive to know more about products, to understand and test them. Omnipresent flowers are not only meant to adorn the place but to emphasize their own benefits conveyed by the hairdresser and the spa, and underline their cultural dimension through by the bookstore. That way, Lush reminds us that selling products means first and foremost selling imagination : of possible uses and destinations, of origins and know-how.

Last week, Kiabi presented a new service in their store in Reims: a 100 sqm DIY workshop (in test and intended to become widespread), called “The Workshop of Happiness to share” which offers courses to teach women to make their clothes last longer. Sewing, repair, customization and creation advice are provided by a team of Kiabi employees and do-it-yourself experts. Confronted with the development of e-commerce, “real-world” stores must aim at offering experiences. Why would accessible fashion be limited to cheap clothes? Why wouldn’t affordability come with creativity and pedagogy?

When Lush delivers an experience to live, Kiabi offers something to do, which proves that what matters isn’t really the product offering, but what is built around.

So What ?

The stake for brands is not only to make the public believe in its promises, but to give customers the opportunity to live them.

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