MEET THE RETAIL DESIGN TEAM AT YSL BEAUTÉ

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1 MEET THE RETAIL DESIGN TEAM AT YSL BEAUTÉ WRITTEN BY: Imogen Hope MiND Magazine was delighted that members of the YSL Beauté retail design team were available to meet in Paris. They were able to show how the team s dynamics play an important role in the design process as well as share their views on the brand s design ethos and much more. Experts in the field of design, Clémence Pujade-Lauraine, Julia Baltzinger and Quentin Blanchard epitomise the meaning of the words team spirit as they all agree that it is the individual strengths and experiences that contribute to the unique combination of the team. They feel that this gives them the edge when working on a new project as all angles are covered, and as a result gives them the confidence that newly implemented projects will be innovative and successful. The team s formula appears to be working well. YSL Beauté is a brand that is now standing out from its competitors. The team explained to MiND Magazine that there was a big repositioning of the brand to be more fresher, younger, sleeker and even more luxurious and this was carried through to the ads, communication and visuals. Gone are the days when YSL Beauté appealed only to the 45 plus market, the brand now has a loyal customer base who are in their 20s /30s and are attracted to the new look but are still looking to purchase a luxurious product.

2 "As a brand we are the full package" MiND Magazine was not surprised to hear YSL Beauté is always looking to improve the needs of their customers. They are already ahead of their industry competitors with experiential buying which means emphasising lighting to attract people from afar. What propelled you into a career of retail design for YSL Beauté? Have you always known that this is the career for you? Julia: Yes, I think from the very beginning I have always wanted to do this. I enjoyed less working in the private sector of design, as it is a lot about your own tastes. When you are working in retail design it is more constructive and focused on the customer s path with rules that you need to follow. For me it is far more interesting. Clémence: I also started in the private side of luxury. At one point it was more or less the same type of project, the same people. It was interesting for me to work on people, and to adapt projects to them. However, when I joined the L Oréal group it was about the customer, you need to adapt and cater for different customers and areas. Cosmetics is a place where you can be playful and can always change the design, it is never fixed/set permanently. When you install a store you have to constantly change and update. It is also interesting to see yourself grow up alongside your project. Quentin: For me it wasn t my first aim, I have a degree in industrial and project design. I met some people in L Oréal, my last boss was great, he gave me the opportunity and taste of retail design. For me, Cosmetic design is different for women, I am not the target audience except for fragrance but it is really interesting to work on different projects in this special kind of field. It is not only about retail and interior design or architecture it is also about project design.

3 Could you tell the readers about your design ethos? Clémence: When we work on a project we always think, what is best for our customer? What experience do we want to give to our customer? Also that nothing is for free. For example, the smartphone is a new technology, a new addition, new must-have that was introduced into our life. We want to do the same for our customers with cosmetic. It is important to always reinvent ourselves, we don t want to do something different just to be different but it has to have a purpose linked to the brand and to the customer. Quentin: Exactly, we want the customer to understand how we make our make-up. As I am not using it myself, I see things from a different angle and can think how it works, how we should put the products together. Clémence: You have to remember everything is changing, everything has to make sense at the right time at the right place. This is the red tape we have to follow at all times. Chengdu-Taikooli

4 How do you make sure YSL Beauté stands out from its competitors? Julia: For me firstly it is innovation, especially product innovation. There was a big repositioning of the brand to be more edgy, and luxury. I think this is how we stand out from other brands. There is also a different angle of communication, different ads, different visuals and particularly concerning retail where we are trying to translate this into being more edgy. Quentin: Which is a really different strategy from our competitors. We have the full package; the products, communication and now architecture. We worked on a new look for YSL Beauté, more luxurious with more light and different materials so I think now as a brand we are the full package. Clémence: Like Julia said we repositioned the brand as much edgier and much younger yet still retaining that luxury element. That is definitely something the brand has never seen before. What makes us different is we have succeeded in mixing the two aspects of young and luxurious. And is this the same for department stores? Quentin: We work a lot on lighting, since we started designing the new look we have added a lot of black lacquer. For example, we had a black panel with specific engraved acrylics which we also used on the ceiling. Light enhances the colours of the products but also attracts people from afar. When we are amongst our competitors in a department store, the lights help us to stand out. We use light as a material. We have to find the right balance, attract people with our architecture and bring focus to the products, and not too much on the surroundings. Clémence: I would say the basics of design are essential when you design a retail strategy space. What attracts people from afar or at the entrance? We used the lighting and materials as our brand image, we wanted to use something very bright. It is important for the product to be the main focus when it s on the counter. We have to incorporate browsing and accessibility towards the products so lighting helps with that a lot. If you can see the right colour you want, you can try them on.

5 Castellana, Madrid What are the retail and technology challenges the team faces every day? Clémence: I think it s to enrich the experience at the counter. What could be different and what would make the customer come into our store. For example, how do we attract them into the store when they could sit comfortably in their sofa and do everything from their computers. That s why we create an experience and entertainment. Then the most challenging thing is to still have a consistency between what they see online and what they see on the counter. It is not about creating something radically different so they come in to the store but we also need to ensure there is familiarity from what they see on the computer, phone, ipad and social media which is then linked back to the store. It is about finding the most appropriate connection. Julia: People can buy products very easily online, so when they come to us they expect something different, not different in terms of design but to have experience on top of the products. It is not only about buying something but to leave with something emotionally, this is what we need to insert into our customer path as well.

6 What are the biggest personal challenges the team faces daily? Clémence: I think it is to get the right balance between us all. Each member of the team has their own strengths, one is good with digital, one might suggest how we can implement it, as a team they all need to have the best perception of everything. You have to find people that are strong individually and yet team players. Not only within the retail design team but also with the marketing, the digital, the education team. You can t do anything on your own. Quentin: It is not just about retail design, we have to integrate every aspect of retail education from the beauty advisors to marketing and so on. Clémence: Especially at a time where the industry is moving so quickly. As soon as we start to design something, it will have already changed. You need to be fast and use the input of the different departments to feed you. Quentin: We are also responsible for international retail design, not just for one market but for the global markets, Asia, Middle East, where needs are different. If you make something specific you have then to adapt it to a different zone and different customers. Clémence: Even if you have a different area, like Asia, the US, and the Middle East, the customer has the same past but with the digital age everything moves so quickly. For example Instagram is a worldwide phenomenon. We have to think about a design that can work everywhere and not only in one location. It is about how you adjust, how you change details that enable it to be more relevant for one country but also valid around the globe.

7 Matsuya Ginza, Japan What inspires you when you design? Where do your ideas come from? Quentin: It comes from many different fields, automotive, architecture, not only makeup. We don t want to look to our competitors for inspiration, we like think outside the box. With digital it is really important to bring other technology to the point of sales. We aim to create excitement and new experience for our customers. Clémence: We need to create a concept that makes our customer want to try a new lipstick or skincare or fragrance product. You have to see what is happening everywhere not only in Cosmetics but in automobile, fashion, magazines, even in medicine. We have to think differently. Is there a new retail design you are working on at the moment? Clémence: We have one that we are starting to implement that we have just designed. It has been already installed in China Japan and Spain. Anything new is confidential! Julia: We only started in November so it is quite early days.

8 How many times will you change the store design? Has it changed due to the products or customers? Clémence: Both but for example Le Vestiaire des Parfums was definitely about the product. It was a new product and we were certain it wouldn t fit in with the interior design we had previously. That s why we reinvented it from the beginning. Going back to our design ethos it is not about changing from pink to the blue but to change how we want to present the product and who is our customer? How we are going to reinvent the design so it adapts? If we change the way we present fragrances, we have to change the way we present our make-up and skincare. It is about the experience. You have to think about both always. Julia: A new product can spawn a new way to consume. Quentin: Creating a new experience around each product. We created a fragrance fitting, a Vestiaire des Parfums fitting room. You can smell the fragrance when entering. A completely new concept developed for the first time. It s like an aired perfume you can smell but there is no drop of fragrance on you. We had to find the right balance between technology, how we make it and experience. So that it is smart and luxurious but not too tacky. Clémence: You shouldn t see how it is made or how it works, you just have to live the experience. Going back to the example of the IPhone, you don t want to know how it is made, you just want to know how to work it, the same applies to our area. What s next for YSL Beauté in terms of design? Clémence: You will see soon!

9 Le Vestiaire des Parfums, Galeries Lafayette

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