Yesterday I witnessed the unveiling of four new counters in Edgars at the V&A Waterfront; Estee Lauder, Bobbi Brown, La Mer and Clinique.
First, I was treated to a lovely breakfast at the Table Bay hotel where I caught up with Leigh-Anne, Sibongile, Eloise and Jasna.
It was during this breakfast that the four brands told us about the research and development that each team is involved with and how they carried their findings and strategies into their new counter designs and interactive spaces.
Most women (and some men) are familiar with the well established brands keeping their cosmetics behind the counter, with a brand representative placed between the consumer and the products – a design which is frustrating for peak shopping times and for women who want to “play” with makeup and cosmetics and for women who wish to ask for help when they need it rather than being hovered over like a supervised child.
Whilst there is a danger in leaving cosmetics completely up to self service, each of the brands progressively embraced a balance between empowering women to experience and explore their products in inviting and user friendly environments, and having consultants on hand to help direct and educate where questions arise and help is needed.
After each of the brands had told us about their research and a little of what was to expect at the store we set out to experience the counters for ourselves.
The counters exceeded my expectations. Counters had created “colour bars” where colour makeup was accessible and proudly displayed, skincare was laid out and organized, and relaxing “interactive zones” had been established, via the makeup chair at Bobbi Brown, the consultation couch at Estee Lauder (where you can receive a hand massage whilst you are educated on products and treatments), the luxury lounger at La Mer and the diagnostic station at Clinique.
Finally, after being fed desert and more champagne we were given a bag of treats from each of the houses and sent home to be grateful for the presence of Estee Lauder Companies and excited about the constant investment that companies make in customer satisfaction.