December 13, 2017 /Retail Insight

Out of store queues in a year dubbed as the death of retail…

Fenty Beauty

A few weeks back, The Financial Times reported how stores are all made up with beauty stars. Whilst the article set out to explore the legendary Pat McGrath, Victoria Beckham and Charlotte Tilbury, we were delighted to see the feature include the Rihanna’s recently debuted Fenty make-up brand.

With 2017 witnessing a mass closure of stores, journalist Anna-Marie Solowij set the scene by alluding with wider industry speculation that retail is having a hard time. Solowij confirms in her article that according to Daniela Rinaldo, Harvey Nichols commercial director, Rihanna’s beauty launch was the biggest the store has seen.

Globally, the debut made $72m in its first month of trading. This is testament to Harvey Nichols London flagship, whereby consumers ardently queued for hours just to visit the beauty space.

In such a challenging retail climate, Sheridan&Co are proud to have worked alongside Kendo to Design & Deliver the Retail Identity of Rihanna’s new inclusive beauty line.

So what exactly makes a compelling space that can compete against the alluring convenience of shopping online?

Brands can innovate by:

1 . Catering to the experience economy

First, the store is an opportunity to court consumers by the giving them the opportunity live and breathe the brand. Stores are a blend of experiences from dining concepts, to wellness opportunities. We have seen more examples of this through the rise of Showroom Spaces. These concepts prompt consumers to actively participate in a brand’s community and this is vital for long-term engagement.

2 . Trading on the USP of human sensibility

The store space is a stage for viscera. Think about the allure of a sweet smelling product, the ambiance of relaxing music. These are designed to evoke meaning. Brands can create intimate moments through the art of Touch, which is a sentiment we explored with author Courtney Maum in light of her recent novel. She shares that like any language, if we do not use it enough, it can become extinct. Our ability to touch places us in the fast lane to nurturing empathy which is intrinsic to creating intimacy. This leads us to explore our consumer tribe Anti-Techists.

Of course, customer service comes into this. Physically interacting with another human being is sometimes the exact motivation for a consumer to come into store. Elevating this enables brands to have a competitive edge to the chatbot centric quality of online. At the start of the year, we explored this in the luxury sector with the founders of Chimera.

3 . The store is an opportunity to generate social media value.

The store is an exciting playground whereby brands can attain valuable feedback from customer interaction from a live personal engagement and social media. This was illustrated with the Fenty’s debut in Harvey Nichols. The launch included sweet treats, green juices and a live DJ. Six lucky consumers to enjoy make-overs performed by Rihanna herself. Thus what is true is that the store acts as a tool to create conversation, build brand buzz and nurture long term engagement through impactful experiences.


As we move into December, Finland will be celebrating its centenary of independence. Timely enough, the Finnish author and artist Tove Jansson’s Moomins will be translated a festive film. Yet, this cultural event is far reaching and has inspired us to reflect on how Nordic Matters can improve design and educate us about wider societal attitudes.

Last month, The New York Times held its annual luxury conference and we share how this event has informed our strategic thinking as well paint a clearer picture of the future for this market.

As we head towards Christmas, we have put together a visual narrative of star constellations that celebrates the year that has passed. Throughout the month, we will be sharing the work we have enjoyed creating with our clients and also internal successes that we are proud of.

Which leads us to finish on wishing you all a successful and merry final month of 2017. Let’s make it the most creative and joyful yet.