While much of the world has their head tilted down, neck positioned uncomfortably, eyes focused on a small screen and fingers poised to execute 140 characters, Kiran Stordalen and Nicole Rechelbacher, owners of Intelligent Nutrients, are moving away from the technology connection and focusing, almost returning, to the personal one, thanks to their new store which officially opens the week of July 25 at One Fifth Avenue at 8th Street.
Though Intelligent Nutrients natural beauty products have been available globally at more than 1,000 spas and salons for about a decade, One Fifth Avenue is the brand’s first East Coast brick-and-mortar location.
“We wanted to create a sensory and tactile experience for the consumer by exposing them to products they’ve never connected with before physically,” said Nicole Rechelbacher, daughter of Horst Rechelbacher, the late founder of the brand.
“You can talk about products all the time, but when you see how they feel on your skin, play with them, hear our story, learn what we are about, and feel like part of the community we are building, these are all things you need to do in person. This store is about that human to human contact.”
After Horst passed away in 2014 from pancreatic cancer, the company was left to the two women in his life; his wife, Kiran Stordalen, and his daughter, Nicole.
“Horst left us a roadmap about responsibility and creating products that we love that are results-driven,” said Kiran. “This store was supposed to have opened before he died, but we postponed everything when he passed. We live upstairs [in the building above the store] and had a lease on the store, so we held onto it until we were ready.”
In addition to being a place where consumers can touch and play with Intelligent Nutrients products, the store is focusing on new retail trends.
“Mixed retailing is the future of retailing,” said Kiran. “These days you have a bookshop and a coffee shop and something else, all in one space. This is our version of that.”
Their first partnership is with Rachel Lang, owner of FaceLove Fitness, a company that offers muscle interval training treatments for the face. There’s also a small ‘pop-in’ treatment/salon area – complete with an oxygen bar – to host editorial hairdressers, brow or makeup artists, and other specialists.
For the past six months the pair’s primary focus has been working on opening the 800-square-foot space and finding the right people to share it.
“Horst left us the sustainability piece. We wanted to add to that conversation by adding a performance, efficacy and luxury experience. That’s our sweet spot,” Kiran added. “We are a lifestyle brand. Our story is a big difference for us. It sets us apart from other companies.”
While influencers and social media are extremely important to the brand, Kiran and Nicole’s concentration will remain on the store and the experiences it creates.
“We would love to do more videos and focus on the social media aspect but we are still a small company. Our dollars go back into this,” Kiran explained.
“This is just the beginning,” said Nicole, regarding the company’s collaborations. “We started in hair so we have a lot of connections and interested parties. But we have a lot to handle with our own product lines. We are trying to move forward while building our brand and connecting with the customer by adding more experience-driven events.”