Global beauty icon Huda Kattan has been passionate about make-up from a young age, but fate lent a hand after the recession, which saw her leave her career in finance to further her passion for beauty and make the transition to study make-up in Los Angeles. Very quickly into this new-found career, Huda’s focus and dedication to developing her artistry skills led her to work with world-class make-up artists, leading beauty brands and numerous renowned models and celebrities.
After learning all the tricks of the trade and garnering a wealth of experience from some of the best experts in the industry, Huda decided the time was right to share this knowledge with others and she started her blog in 2010, which quickly escalated her into a globally recognised make-up and beauty expert. In 2013 Huda joined forces with her two sisters, Mona and Alya to launch Huda Beauty, with its own range of tried and trusted high-end beauty and make-up products, leading to the global phenomenon the brand is today; one of the fastest growing beauty brands.
Already successfully sold around the world and in the UK via Harrods, Selfridges and Harvey Nichols, Huda was inspired to create a unique pop-up experience for advocates of the Huda Beauty brand, in London’s Covent Garden. Because of her passionate love of London and the high number of dedicated fans in the UK, Huda chose this to be the city that would launch and host the brand’s first ever pop-up store.
Storefront was on hand from the early stages, to help source and procure the most ideal pop-up location for the pop-up. Covent Garden ticked all the initial boxes, due to its status as the beauty hub of London, it’s premium locale and a lively and eclectic mix of lifestyle and leisure. Furthermore, it resonates with both tourists and locals in equal measure.
Huda had a very clear idea of how she wanted the pop-up to appear and this required something that could be built from scratch. The result was a truly eye-catching pop-up created to entice and enthral customers for one month, from the end of November till the 26th of December 2019.
Sophie Maisant, International Marketing VP for Huda Beauty revealed “The pop-up was a unique way to truly translate how Huda wanted and envisioned the consumer experience to be. Bringing social media into real life and creating an environment, which not only functions as a retail space, but also delivers an incredibly strong and immersive encounter.”
Huda and her team pulled out all the stops to make this the most fun and immersive pop-up imaginable. The focus of the product offering was the new eye-shadow palette, Mercury Retrograde and the environment created around this very much emphasised the cosmic and the magical. The entire exterior of the pop-up resembled a multi-faceted, metallic mass of geometrical shapes. This was echoed inside with various ‘galactic’ elements, “fractured” mirrored surfaces and shimmering fixtures and elements. Lighting was “sci-fi” in its delivery. There was an opportunity for customers to sit on the same throne Huda used in her launch material, sharing their experience through numerous photo opportunities. This in turn took their journey beyond the pop-up’s physical environment and into the realms of social media and the online world for others to see and experience.
There is no doubt that the more engaging and immersive a physical experience is, the stronger and more long lasting the relationship with the brand will be. As Sophie elaborates, “The pop-up allowed customers to develop an emotional connection with all that Huda embodies in the brand and enabled them to enter her world and physically experience it.”
This is an example of how when it is done properly, a physical retail environment truly embodies and compliments the online brand perception. “Today, one cannot live without the other” explains Sophie. “An omnichannel experience is one that everybody wants to have. A physical experience needs to add something so that customers receive more than they would get online. Sophie elaborates that in some instance’s retailers have fewer stores, but are ensuring that these are better.
In the case of the Huda Beauty pop-up, the team realised that aside from delivering a truly unique and memorable physical environment, they also needed to offer limited edition products which helped create an urgency and a buzz among customers. In fact, such was the success of the pop-up, that from the very first day they had hard core fans queuing up outside and the team had to implement a booking system to enable a more efficient customer flow.
Ultimately, the scale of the feedback and reaction from the beauty industry and on social media channels has proven that the pop-up served its purpose of being a highly successful and powerful brand awareness initiative. On the back of this, Huda is certainly considering more pop-ups in other cities in the future…