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The shopper’s crop rotation

  • Opinion
  • May 15, 2018
  • Sarah Dunn
The shopper’s crop rotation

While travelling around the US prior to attending the International Home + Housewares Show in Chicago this March, I read one of those books sold especially for consumption on planes. I wouldn’t recommend it, exactly, but bits like this quote made me cringe in recognition:

“For years now I've kind of operated under an informal shopping cycle. A bit like a farmer's crop rotation system. Except, instead of wheat, maize, barley, and fallow, mine pretty much goes clothes, makeup, shoes, and clothes (I don't bother with fallow). Shopping is actually very similar to farming a field. You can't keep buying the same thing, you have to have a bit of variety. Otherwise you get bored and stop enjoying yourself.” 
― Sophie Kinsella, Confessions of a Shopaholic.

I didn’t identify with that book’s heroine, Rebecca Bloomwood, but I can’t deny I’ve got my own crop rotation cycle going on. Currently, it goes something like books, skincare, home renovation stuff, clothes, books.  

So when I visited New York, my inner Rebecca insisted we head along to Glossier’s flagship store in Chinatown. It was time for a crop of skincare products to be harvested.

For those not in the know, Glossier is one of the most exciting beauty start-ups on the market. The direct-to-consumer retailer grew out of an online skincare and makeup chat community, Into The Gloss, when the moderators realised they could use their members’ copious feedback to develop a better kind of product.

Glossier products are accessibly priced, but the company is currently only shipping to the US, Puerto Rico, Canada and the UK and not supplying any other retailers, meaning it has the allure of scarcity on its side. I’ve been admiring its rave-reviewed skincare line since the brand was launched in 2014, and my visit was perfectly timed to coincide with the release of its first fragrance.

Finding the flagship turned out to be a bit of an adventure, however. I checked Google Maps four times before entering an unassuming doorway on a seedy-looking street. There were three other girls waiting by an elevator and we eyed each other up before asking: “Are you here for…” “Yeah, this has got to be it, right? “Surely. The sign’s right outside.”

As a group, we took the elevator upstairs to the penthouse suite. It was the right place, alright – we walked out into a fragrant pink world filled with women spraying scents, swatching make-up, sampling creams, snapping selfies and queuing for the counter.

The Glossier flagship is a bit like Cloud Cuckoo Land from the Lego Movie but with more smartphones.

Every item from the Glossier range is displayed gallery-style on plinths, allowing shoppers to test them, handle them and pose with them for Instagram as needed. There’s a bank of sinks in one corner to allow shoppers to wash off excess product, and salespeople in white lab coats roam around giving advice.

To order, you choose your products, fill out a form and join the queue before handing it over to a salesperson at the counter. Paying is card-only for added efficiency. The salesperson passes your form to a behind-the-scenes crew, who pick and pack the order and hand it back to you in a branded bag, complete with a sheet of stickers.

I ended up buying the fragrance, brow pomade, cleanser and four kinds of lip product. At the time, it felt like I was being incredibly restrained.

Rebecca Bloomwood would be proud.

This story originally appeared in NZ Retail magazine issue 755 April/May 2018

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The Warehouse Group switches to compostable bags

  • News
  • May 21, 2018
  • Sarah Dunn
The Warehouse Group switches to compostable bags

Following the lead of retailers like Mitre 10, Countdown and New World, The Warehouse Group is transitioning into offering fully compostable bags across the entire company. This means 254 stores from the red sheds; Warehouse Stationery; Noel Leeming and Torpedo7 will no longer offer petroleum-based plastic bags.

Read more
 
 

Deadly Ponies debut appearance

  • News
  • May 18, 2018
  • Sarah Pollok
Deadly Ponies debut appearance

New Zealand’s luxury leather accessories brand, Deadly Ponies, continues to make waves in the fashion world. Now impressing designers and industry icons alike at its debut in the Australian Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.

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My Food Bag appoints new chief executive Kevin Bowler

  • Who's Where
  • May 18, 2018
  • Sarah Dunn
My Food Bag appoints new chief executive Kevin Bowler

My Food Bag founders and co-chief executives Cecilia and James Robinson are to move into strategic and governance roles following the appointment of new CEO Kevin Bowler. Bowler formerly lead Tourism New Zealand and Frucor Suntory.

Read more
 
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Don’t stop me now

  • Opinion
  • May 17, 2018
  • Satish Ranchhod
Don’t stop me now

In terms of retail spending, New Zealand households ended 2017 with a bang, and it looks like the party has continued in the early part of 2018. However, despite this firmness in spending levels, retail price inflation remains stubbornly low, writes Satish Ranchhod, Westpac senior economist.

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Back in time: Hannahs

  • News
  • May 17, 2018
Back in time: Hannahs

With 50 stores gracing central business districts from Whangarei to Invercargill, it’s easy to forget that there was ever a high street before Hannahs. And actually, at 150 years old, the shoe chain may well pre-date some Kiwi towns.

Read more
 
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