Two of the world’s leading luxury retailers, Browns and Farfetch, have announced their entry into the beauty market. Each will offer a carefully curated selection of high-end skincare and cosmetics designed to complement each stores’ existing fashion, accessories and homeware offering, and tap into the ever-growing demand for luxury beauty: a market that is predicted to be worth more than £580 billion by 2025.
With Farfetch being the parent company of Browns, the coordinated timing of the two launches is no coincidence. However, each retailer is taking a markedly different approach to their debut beauty offering.
Browns’ initial campaign, named Big Little Rituals, will introduce customers to more than 90 brands across skincare, fragrance, makeup, men’s grooming, haircare and beauty tech. Big names joining the Browns stable include Medik8, Dr Barbara Sturm and Augustinus Bader, with the promise of more to come in future seasons.
Browns has not stopped at merely adding new products to its online store and physical locations in Mayfair and Old Street. It has also launched Browns Beauty Community; a network of industry professionals responsible for testing and recommending products, offering testimonials, creating product edits and hosting in-person events.
Browns East will also become the physical hub for all things Browns Beauty, with today seeing the unveiling of the Beauty Pod – a home for a regularly rotating edit of new and established brands curated by the Browns buying team – and the Beauty Studio, a shopping, treatment and hang-out space where customers can seek advice from Browns’ newly-recruited beauty specialists, browse its offering and take advantage of a series of residencies which will see in-demand MUAs, nail artists and skincare specialists offer express treatments created just for the department store. Expect to see Natura Bisse, Sunday Riley and Lanshin in residence over the next few months.
“The beauty space, like fashion, is a category that offers infinite room for playfulness, self-expression, and joy,” said Ida Peterson, Buying Director at Browns. “We’re thrilled to [be] bringing together brands and experiences from the respected beauty community in a way that is uniquely Browns. I hope our customers will feel inspired to engage and experiment in this category in much the same way they already do with our fashion buy.”
Farfetch, meanwhile, has named its new category Beauty Beyond Boundaries. In accordance with its reputation for offering the newest, latest and most forward-thinking fashion labels, the 100+ beauty brands joining Farfetch have been chosen for their ability to serve customers across all ages, races, cultures and genders, with famous names and rising indie labels represented. Highlights include Charlotte Tilbury, Omorovicza, Virtue and Tom Ford Beauty.
With something of a head start given its acquisition of online luxury beauty retailer Violet Grey earlier this year, in lieu of a physical location, Farfetch’s high-tech beauty space will offer virtual try-ons, as well as both a Beauty Global Collective and a Beauty Global Community. The former will be something akin to a committee of brand founders, beauty creatives and industry experts, including Michelle Wong, Violet Chachki, Isamaya Ffrench and Cassandra Grey, chosen for their ability to inspire, educate and reach customers with different beauty needs and interests.
The Beauty Global Community, meanwhile, will be open for membership to any beauty lover, offering customers a way to connect directly with both experts and peers, create their own product edits, test and review new launches and join conversations with like-minded beauty enthusiasts. Members will also be able to access exclusive perks and benefits.
“Beauty is such an important way for people to be able to express themselves and their individuality – it’s transformative,” says Holli Rogers, Farfetch Chief Brand Officer. “We took this as an opportunity to shake up the online beauty retail experience by bridging fashion and beauty to appeal to our existing audience of fashion lovers. Our launch campaign celebrates the emotions attached to choice and self-expression along with the feelings it evokes knowing that beauty is subjective.”