L’Oréal Canada Reveals Plans for Freestanding Retail (Updated)

As the beauty giant prepares to open new stores—including Canada’s very first Urban Decay—chief retail officer Jared MacKay talks shop

 

Update (August 19): This post has been updated with more details on Canada’s first Urban Decay store, opening in Vancouver’s Metropolis at Metrotown.

 
Jared MacKay, L’Oréal Canada’s chief retail officer

Jared MacKay, L’Oréal Canada’s chief retail officer

 

As the world’s largest cosmetics company, L’Oréal isn’t exactly hard to find, with products abounding in drugstores, department stores and online. But why share a shelf when you can have the whole place all to yourself? In June, Jared MacKay, formerly of the Aldo Group, was appointed to the new role of chief retail officer as L’Oréal Canada preps to launch more freestanding stores.

 
Kiehl’s CF Toronto Eaton Centre boutique, which opened this spring

Kiehl’s CF Toronto Eaton Centre boutique, which opened this spring

 

Kiehl’s has just added two locations (Halifax and London, Ont.), for a total of 23 boutiques nationwide. And after arriving in Canada last year, NYX is set to grow by four to five locations in the fall, including Ottawa and Oshawa. “NYX is absolutely on fire,” says MacKay of the budget-friendly makeup line beloved by Instagrammers.

Fall will also bring Canada’s very first Urban Decay stores: the first in Vancouver’s Metropolis at Metrotown in September, followed by Mississauga, Ont.’s Square One in November; other Canadian doors will follow in 2017. Cosmetics called up MacKay to talk bricks-and-mortar.

 
The NYX boutique on Queen Street West in downtown Toronto

The NYX boutique on Queen Street West in downtown Toronto

 

Why get into branded retail now? We see an opportunity to provide our consumer with the ultimate brand expression. [With NYX, for example] the customer was telling us, “I want more. I want to experience the hype.” There’s a human element you can’t get online that we can give in our boutiques, [such as] educating and advising on the latest makeup trends or skincare routine.

How would shopping at your stand-alone boutique differ from buying the same product at another retailer? No matter where our consumer shops, it’s very important that they feel the same branded experience. We aim to keep that consistent. [But in our corporately owned, freestanding stores], we have a lot of potential to put dedicated ambassadors in place—people who live, eat and breathe the brand. We have the advantage of nurturing their knowledge—guiding their career, promoting them and engaging with them on a consistent basis.

So, it’s also a great opportunity for the teams you’re recruiting. Absolutely, that’s a big part of our appeal in going into branded retail. Career-pathing has always been at the core of L’Oréal, and retail is no different.

 

Key features of Urban Decay’s first freestanding store in Canada:

 
Rendering of CAnada’s first Urban Decay store, opening at Metropolis at Metrotown

Rendering of CAnada’s first Urban Decay store, opening at Metropolis at Metrotown

 
  • The 632-square-foot space features four makeup stations, a giant digital screen displaying guests’ photos on a live social feed, and a 100-inch custom nickel chandelier
  • The decor also includes a chrome dog statue—an homage to co-founder Wende Zomnir’s black lab, Marley, as well as a symbol of Urban Decay’s commitment to cruelty-free beauty
  • The brand says the store will carry “exclusive UD makeup and boutique lifestyle products you won’t find anywhere else”
 

A version of this article was originally published in the Fall 2016 issue of Cosmetics magazine.