Sephora chose an historic theater in downtown Los Angeles as the venue for its 20th anniversary celebration, which was also designed to upend conventional beauty events.
Sephoria House of Beauty, which ran from October 20 to October 21, was an ambitious undertaking that attracted approximately 5,000 paid visitors, with entry fees ranging from $99 to $499 for tickets. Once there, consumers navigated a 25,000 square foot, multi-sensory space, complete with a lush-looking garden anchored by a giant-sized jar of luxury skin care brand La Mer. One of the objectives, said Deborah Yeh, Sephora’s Senior Vice President of Marketing & Brands, was to deliver endless options for visitors to pose, shoot and post on social media.
“One of the things we talk about in terms of what comprises great, experiential retail is whether it’s shareable,” said Deborah. “Being Instagrammable is a component of that. But we also want people to live in the moment, too,” she said, adding that much of the experience was intended to be visceral.
“We want to activate all of the senses in this environment. This is our 20th year of retail come to life. This event celebrates our history and thinks about the future of experiential retail.”
More than 50 of Sephora’s top-selling brands participated, including Becca, Urban Decay and Tarte. Becca brought in supermodel/cookbook/author/Twittersphere queen, Chrissy Teigen, to talk about their new collaboration. Tarte zeroed in on its sexy, feminine vibe by adorning a classic convertible with flowers. Fenty Beauty, Rihanna’s brand, launched its new Fairy Bomb Shimmer Powder, inviting shoppers to climb into a giant glitter-filled tub. Urban Decay threw the spotlight on its new Naked Cherry eyeshadow palettes by stuffing slot machines with trinkets (including makeup, of course.)
“I was excited for Urban Decay to participate because it’s an of-the-moment way to showcase our partnership with Sephora to dedicated beauty junkies,” said Wende Zomnir, founding partner and Chief Creative Officer of Urban Decay. She added that the many “iconic architectural details” of the theater tempted people to spend hours there, exploring.
Certainly, there was no shortage of things to see and do. One floor was dedicated to services. Drybar built out a full salon. Benefit offered brow shaping. Sephora staffers were on hand to custom-match foundation colors. And, uber talented make-up and hair artists, such as Ouai’s Jen Atkin and Mario Dedivanovic, performed demos to standing-room only crowds.
Still, as impactful as the event was for brands, Urban Decay’s Wende broke it down even further.
“Our goal was to be part of a fun, relaxed space for people who love beauty,” she said.