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Rendering of L’Oreal’s second US corporate headquarters in El Segundo. L’Oreal announced plans for a new West Coast headquarters last month, mobilizing its California-based beauty brands NYX Professional Makeup, Urban Decay and Pulp Riot. Photo Credit:

Exploring Beauty in La La Land: Innovators Increasingly Set their Sights on Los Angeles

Recent concepts from Charlotte Tilbury and Beautycounter reflect LA’s rise into an increasingly important global beauty market. 

Los Angeles has long been considered a leading market for health, wellness, and beauty. The sunny weather, proximity to the ocean and outdoor pursuits, and abundance of year-round produce has helped foster mindful and active lifestyles while celebrity culture and the outsized influence of the entertainment industry has supported strength in beauty. More recently, the rise of the influencer economy, availability of technology talent, and a growing industry focus on diversity, inclusion, and creative production has helped catapult LA into a global powerhouse for beauty innovation.

During a recent trip with an LA-based client, our team visited leading beauty concepts that opened recently before or during the pandemic.  Beauty and wellness innovators in Los Angeles are shaping experiential retail through innovative design and technology that guides, personalizes, and builds community (and certainly generates abundant word of mouth through livestream connectivity).  We weigh in on our experiences at two of these stand-out stores below:

Charlotte Tilbury: Beauty Wonderland Flagship

Store Layout Image sourced from Hollywood Reporter.

British cosmetics brand Charlotte Tilbury (named after its celebrity makeup artist founder) operates its only North American Beauty Wonderland flagship store at The Grove. The IG-worthy space puts customer expression (through personalization) and empowerment (through education) at the forefront of the experience. Charlotte’s Magic Mirror invites guests to have a “Magic Makeup Reading,” leveraging augmented reality to gather information about customers’ facial features and skin tone to recommend appropriate products and enable virtual try-on – an asset during a global pandemic!  The store also boasts a Fountain of Youth sanitation station for makeovers as well as a private space dubbed Charlotte’s Beauty Boudoir where interactive livestreams are recorded. Each step of the store experience invites the customer to get immersed in a wonderful world of beauty from the eyes of Charlotte herself.

Charlotte Tilbury’s personalized gifting station features their new Look of Love Collection, available exclusively at their Beauty Wonderland at The Grove in LA. Photo Credit: McMillanDoolittle.

Beautycounter Livestream Studio

Beautycounter’s LIVE @ Abbot Kinney store features elevated product displays, information on leading brand initiatives, and a complete livestream content studio. Photo Credit: PR Newswire.

Santa Monica-based Beautycounter is a leader and innovator in clean beauty. Widely known for its independent selling model (now a community of 60,000+ independent sellers), the brand has added retail operations through its boutiques in New York City and Denver, and a seasonal Nantucket pop-up. In December of 2020, Beautycounter opened its latest retail store concept in Venice, featuring a livestream content studio.  The LIVE @ Abbot Kinney concept bridges the gap between the in-store shopping experience and its online community with virtual livestreams that take place at the back of the store. The livestream recording studio makes the branded space feel both exciting and exclusive. Guests are encouraged to learn about products and initiatives from four vitrines showcasing Beautycounter’s Our Clean Promise, its sustainability journey, its clean beauty advocacy movement, and award-winning products. The store’s gallery-like concept is a showroom for Beautycounter products and values, complimented by the interactive nature of livestream and in-store technology.  Beautycounter’s direct sellers and local influencers alike are invited to capitalize on the studio space to aid in creative production and advance social selling opportunities.

iPhones line the Beauty Counter Live @ Abbot Kinney store for product education, playing skin care tutorials with featured products and describing what works best with each skin type. Photo Credit: McMillanDoolittle

Develop a Winning Customer Experience

We design and take our clients on immersive and inspirational study tours to keep a pulse on global retail innovation – with a focus on the sectors, markets, and categories that are driving growth and innovation around the world.  Our curated retail study tours inform our clients on the latest trends and best practices in retail. To learn more about how our team of retail experts can help your business stay ahead, simply contact us.  Our comprehensive customer insights and experience design services help clients strategically transform the customer journey across all touchpoints.  And if you liked this post, read more about Charlotte Tilbury’s latest virtual-only store concept at our blog post covering pandemic holiday innovations here. You can also download a complimentary copy of our annual publication of Retail Innovations on our website, which documents innovative retail concepts and thematic drivers of retail disruption around the world.


Jill Wahl and Ava Buechel

Jill Wahl is a recognized consumer insights expert with extensive experience in quantitative and qualitative research. Ava Buechel provides comprehensive consumer and market research and analysis. Contact us to learn more about how our strategic solutions and services in leading innovative transformations can help your company play to win.

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