A visit to a new retail concept in Los Angeles showed Wendy Liebmann, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of WSL Strategic Retail, that incorporating beauty into a holistic wellness environment presents an opportunity for traditional beauty retailers.

“Tucked away in the Arts District of downtown Los Angeles on 608 Mateo Street, is the Springs, a center that’s a wonderful combination of mind, body and spirit with services that offer a contemporary view on holistic wellness and beauty. I think this type of concept is quite relevant; WSL just finished a study called the Wellness Uprising, helping us see how much consumers connect wellness, lifestyle, healthy eating and beauty, so the Springs in many ways typified that.

It’s in an area south of Union Station that’s now developing into a hip neighborhood. The 14,000 square foot space opened in October by Jared Stein and Kimberly Helms. A slick refuge from the street, you’re greeted by a gate opening onto a courtyard and a white brick warehouse with a fabulous mural. It’s an amazing graphic set against a very pure white building. Then, you walk into the center, which is divided into three different sections: a restaurant and bar; a lounge/event area and pop up shop; and a spa which offers massage, reiki, acupuncture, gravity colon hydrotherapy and infrared sauna sessions. The whole place feels very much like a holistic sense of wellness. You really feel like you’re part of a 360-degree type of experience. I think the interesting thing is that it feels like a community, like with its donation-only yoga classes, solutions-oriented services and overall give-back vibe.

When we were there it felt like the space was meant for a mixture of different demographics, there were Generation X-ers and Boomers listening to a jazz concert in the event space, but it’s a Millennial place at its core and seemed to attract art and design people who live downtown. It felt like a lifestyle. It made me think about how we in the beauty business try to figure out where we fit into the broader wellness uprising and how it’s important to create a community proposition around it, as opposed to how we traditionally sell beauty. Department stores today have no space to do things differently so how could they take this real opportunity and create a different kind of experience to drive a broad swath of consumers into their stores?