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Riley Rose Enters the Beauty Arena

Riley Rose made their Chicago debut this holiday season delivering on unique products that include vegan rainbow hair dye, syringes of glitter makeup, succulents, candles, and fidget spinners. Pioneered by Linda and Esther Chang, daughters of the Forever 21 founders, Riley Rose is a beauty and lifestyle destination focused on expansion across the U.S.

Described by the founders as an “homage to millennials,” shoppers are greeted by colorful decor accents, and marble floors guiding the way to unicorn, avocado, and cat-themed products throughout the store. Riley Rose is a true lifestyle retailer that serves as a destination to find face masks and makeup brushes merchandised next to cotton candy, journals, and unicorn plushies. In addition to cosmetics, skincare, and hair, there are dedicated sections for small housewares, stationery, tech accessories, and candy for shoppers to explore. Customers will find familiar brand names as well as  Riley Rose’s So Shadey private label beauty accessory brand, and tech accessories sourced from Forever 21. They plan to run independently from the fashion counterpart.

The entire store encourages discovery and play, with large Hollywood-style vanity mirrors and tester brushes located throughout. Each of these beauty tester stations are equipped with iPads sharing tutorials and a a mix of tester products to inspire shoppers to follow along with beauty video demos. The store carries approximately 200 brands, with a strong focus on beauty. Riley Rose is differentiating from Ulta and Sephora by focusing on the integration of carefully curated brands that are notably vegan or cruelty-free. Many of these brands are making their first foray into the U.S. at Riley Rose stores.

A feature section also calls attention to the K-beauty brands including such as Missha, TonyMoly, and Too Cool for School displays their focus on being trend-forward. Digital store signage displaying brand names overhead seem to hint at this sense of transience, allowing for logos to be changed easily if brands are to be swapped out for something new.

Riley Rose stands to set itself apart at Water Tower Place in Chicago by offering a diverse mix of products while focusing on beauty, a new type of concept to be seen in the U.S.

The selfie station encourages social sharing to create Instagrammable moments with the goal for you to enter and “feel like you’re at home in your apartment,” as described by a store manager. Customers view the store as a treasure hunt for new discoveries, but only time will tell if they are to continue to stay relevant with the current pace of change catering to Millennials and Gen Z.




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