In their follow-up act to last year’s inaugural media showcase, London-based retailer, Space NK, went all in with an expanded list of brands and an additional day dedicated to consumers.
Thirty-four brands, established and new, were on hand last week at Industria Studios in the West Village to show their new launches for summer and fall. The first day brought print editors, digital press, influencers and professional hairstylists and makeup artists, while the second day was open to top members in the N.dulge loyalty program and Space NK U.S. employees.
“Being this was our first time inviting our top-tier N.dulge loyalty program customers to attend the brand showcase, we felt it was the best opportunity for us to feature the breadth of our assortment,” said Noah Rosenblatt, Managing Director at Space NK. “This event allows us to present our biggest brands alongside those that are newcomers to the market in an unbiased environment.”
Amongst best-sellers like Bumble and bumble, Diptyque, Tata Harper and Eve Lom, attendees of the #NewNextSNK event got to preview new additions Votary, Windle & Moodie, Clark’s Botanicals and Rossano Ferretti. For Margaret Mitchell, Space NK Global Buying Director, these lesser-known brands can be leveraged to help the business as a whole. “The Space NK customer values being ahead of trends and feeling as though she is the first among friends to discover a new brand,” she said. “Operationally, it means our business needs to be nimble and flexible, but in this environment it is more important to be reactive and opportunistic rather than overly structured and bureaucratic.”
This nimbleness is a boon to smaller companies that find Space NK to be a partner willing to offer them more than just shelf space. “People go to Space NK because they want to get good advice and the products [in the stores] have been picked for the right reasons,” said Paul Windle, owner and founder of hair care and styling brand Windle & Moodie.
For Paul, Space NK also has a personal connection. “Our salon is based in Covent Garden, where Space NK’s first shop was and [Space NK founder] Nicky Kinnaird was one of my clients 25 years ago,” he explained. “It’s beautiful to know this massive success they’ve had. They’re niche players and we see ourselves as niche players, so it’s great that that tradition is carrying on.”
Many of the brands featured this year were newbies in U.S. Space NK’s, but already have a presence in the retailer’s U.K. doors. “I launched in two of their U.K. doors eight years ago,” said Francesco Clark, owner of skin care brand Clark’s Botanicals. “We’re now in 53 of the doors in the U.K. We’ve never had a marketing budget — I literally started the brand from a hospital bed in my bedroom — and now to be at the point where we are well known enough in the U.K. that the U.S. is giving us a shot in brick and mortar feels like a dream come true.”
Votary, another new entry on this side of the pond, is a two-year-old skin care brand created by former makeup artist and beauty editor, Arabella Preston. Her range of natural plant oil products have been in Space NK for two months, she said, and she’s already seeing a positive reaction from U.S. consumers. “We’re particularly known for our Rose Geranium & Apricot Cleansing Oil — it’s what we launched with and is still the bestseller across the range.” Arabella is capitalizing on the momentum she’s made so far, launching a vitamin C face mist in June, followed by a roll-on eye oil with retinol and tuberose in September.
As for why consumers in America are just now getting their chance to try these heretofore only-in-the-U.K. brands, Margaret said it’s a combination of consumer awareness and demand. “The rise of digital and social media channels has meant that customers anywhere can see what we are doing in any market. Our U.S. clients are asking for products that we carry in the U.K., and vice versa,” she noted. “When we start to hear requests in our stores or see an uptick in searches on the website, we know it’s time to at least test the brand in the market.”
Based on the success of last year’s event and the buzz around this one — over two days, the space saw 350 visitors total — a brand spokesperson notes that not only will this type of event be an annual endeavor, they are also exploring a second showcase in LA, where Space NK also has a strong market presence.
“Our hope is that this showcase event gives our customers and our brand partners an opportunity to connect on a different level. The event is a way for us to reinforce that Space NK is a place of discovery, expert advice, and bespoke experiences,” said Noah.