Photos by JOHN ADRIAN
Many women rely on fashion magazines for beauty tips and advice—but could that trust and expertise translate into a branded selling environment?
Fabled by Marie Claire, a “test and play” boutique in London, flips the funnel thanks to a partnership between Ocado, an online supermarket that’s big in the United Kindgom, and Marie Claire UK. The magazine has morphed from merely recommending the latest products and looks to actually stocking shelves with merchandise and featuring in-store counters from brands like NARS, Urban Decay, Estée Lauder, Benefit, Clinique, Chanel and Lancôme. And in a stroke of beauty fix genius (thanks to Ocado’s delivery expertise), Fabled promises one-hour delivery time slots, seven days a week, to area customers.
The 7,200-sq.-ft. Tottenham Court Road store, designed by London-based gpstudio, is meant to merge the online and physical worlds. Digital screens allow customers to explore skin type, product ranges and shop the latest looks. Digital elements also continually link the terrestrial space to fabled.com through interactive editorial content.
“The present day consumer is tech-savvy,” says Gregor Jackson, gpstudio partner and founder. “They have done their research online and know the brands they want—but in-store test and play, learning and experimentation plays a vital role in the customer journey.”
The two-story store skews clinical, but not sterile. The white interior is animated by displays of colorful brand packaging. Fabled Edits, an area based on an editorial feature from the magazine, is devoted to seasonal recommendations. Add to that a fragrance room, plus an entire mezzanine level dedicated to skincare products, and you have a beauty junkie’s paradise.
In addition to offering loads of great product, Fabled features traditional checkouts, plus an integrated mobile payment system, so sales staff can handle transactions on tablets.
Its location in the Tottenham Court Walk development was selected for proximity to brisk foot traffic. So far, there are no immediate plans for expansion, but we’ll be keeping a well-mascara-ed eye on it.