Replete with cheerful staff handing out lots of samples, Bluemercury opened last Friday at 158 N. Larchmont Blvd. (the former Jamba Juice space), offering luxury skin care products. If you haven’t stopped by yet, you may want to check out its grand opening this Saturday, Oct 1, 2016, when it will be offering complementary makeover facials and skincare consultations, as well as special gifts with purchase.
Bluemercury, which is based in Washington, D.C., was founded 17 years ago by Marla Malcolm Beck and her husband Barry Beck. A self-described “absolute beauty junkie,” who “sees every moment as beauty in real life – from trips with family to her daily role as CEO of Bluemercury and developer of two cosmetics lines, M-61 Skincare and Lune+Aster Beauty,” according to her blog.
Last year, Macy’s acquired the company and its 115 locations. Larchmont store manager Paola Grayson, a former make up artist who is shuttling between the Larchmont location and the Bluemercury in Brentwood, told the Buzz that even though Macy’s owns the company, the management of the day to day operations is done completely by Marla Beck and her husband.
Beck, who lives in the Washington, D.C. area with husband Barry and their three kids, is a very hands on CEO, according to Grayson. The company name is a combination of her favorite color, blue and the astrological characteristics of quickness associated with the planet Mercury. Beck’s vision for the store experience comes from her desire to make buying make-up and skin care products accessible, not intimidating. She wants to make it fast and easy for gals (and guys, too; there are a a half dozen or so products designed for men) to grab the best and cleanest skincare products and go. Beck is vegan and has also developed her own line of products that are made without synthetic preservatives and other additives.
Grayson said the company chose Larchmont because it wanted to offer a luxury cosmetic experience in a neighborhood atmosphere. Larchmont is one of more than 100 “heritage” stores that are located on retail streets across the country, in addition to the Bluemercury boutiques inside Macy’s department stores.
“We are not paid on commission, so there’s no incentive to push products on customers,” said Grayson. “We are free to recommend anything the client needs and have an aggressive sampling initiative that sets us apart from other stores, ” he explained, adding that all his staff are trained make up artists well versed in all the product lines.
“We would rather have a customer leave with a bag full of samples than a product they are not sure about,” said Grayson. In addition to the samples, Grayson said the spa offerings make Bluemercury unique in the increasingly crowded market of beauty care stores. (Larchmont will soon have another when MAC Cosmetics opens up in the former Crumbs Bakery space.)
Grayson thinks there’s room on Larchmont for everyone to be successful, since each store offers something to different clients.
Fred Cohanim, owner of Larchmont Village Beauty Supply, said his store offers an encyclopedic experience for customers.
“We offer one-stop shopping; you can buy products at Bluemercury and then come here for everything else,” said Cohanim, who has operated his business for more than 26 years with his wife Sharon and his two sons. Even though he admitted the retail business is increasingly more difficult, Cohanmin is confident of the future of his business. He has faith in his loyal customers as well as a good relationship with his landlord, and is not concerned about sharp increases in his rent in the near term.