Photo: Sephora. Sephora Takashimaya’s new storefront.
You know the drill. One day you’re shopping at your favourite store as usual, and the next, it’s obscured with construction hoarding and the promises of a new and refreshed look in a couple of months’ time. Before the hoarding even comes down, you know you’ll be stepping into a store with a different tiling pattern, a fresh coat (or two) of paint, new counters and shelves, and a revamped layout that you’ll have to spend time getting reacquainted with soon. Everything’s changed – yet everything’s remained the same. Sort of.
But that’s not the case for Sephora’s Takashimaya outlet. The multi-label beauty store at Basement 1 – which was Sephora’s first storefront in Singapore when it made its way into our lives 11 years ago – has gone through a thorough overhaul in the past two months, and opened its doors to the public today (July 5). And it’s not likely you’ll miss the bang surrounding the new store because, trust us, the uber-happening ceiling to floor screens with extravagant videos of people having fun with all things beauty will grab your attention once you’re within sight.
Beyond the flashing lights, here are seven reasons why you need to head down to the store this weekend:
1. The Sephora Beauty Pass Gold Member experience
Photo: Sephora. Sephora Beauty Pass Gold Members can check in at this dedicated counter to kickstart their personalised shopping experience.
The revamped Sephora Takashimaya is clearly designed to reward their VIPs. If you are (gasp) not a gold member yet, just spend $1,500 in a calendar year to qualify. Most tempting of its gold member privileges is the introduction of its Personal Shopper experience, that is exclusive to this outlet.
Book your slot online or via the Sephora app (iPhone users, click here; Android, here), and get treated to a free, dedicated hour-long personalised shopping experience with a team of specially trained personal shoppers. What you’ll get in that session is a welcome hand massage (complete with a warm towel and done using a Jo Malone cream), beverage, and skin analysis (more on that in Point 2) and expert advice on skincare and makeup.
You can also book a complimentary makeover and hairstyling service once a month (for that special dinner date or just to pamper yourself), and get free engraving service with any fragrance or lipstick purchased.
2. Skincredible analysis
Photo: Sephora. The Skincredible skin analysis involves using a high-tech device attached to an iPhone to analyse your skin condition.
Sephora Takashimaya is the first store in South-east Asia to offer Skincredible, a skincare consultation service that helps you determine your skin needs. The personal shopper will place the tool on three parts of your face (forehead, cheek and chin) to tell you how your skin fares on moisture levels, and the appearance of wrinkles and enlarged pores so the algorithm can curate a list of product recommendations customised to your skin needs. Your personal shopper will then narrow it down by asking leading questions about your preferences and lifestyle habits (there’s nothing too intrusive, so don’t you worry about that.)
It’s part of the Gold Member Personal Shopping experience, but is also free for all Sephora beauty pass members (sign up for free, if you haven’t already!) as well as walk-in shoppers on a first-come-first-served basis.
3. Discovery Bars
The Discovery Bar at the skincare section of the store features a sink where Sephora plans to hold workshops for its members.
Like most of the Sephora outlets, the newly revamped Takashimaya store is segregated into sections according to broad categories – skincare, makeup, fragrances, and a small section for hair care. But what’s different here is the addition of what the brand calls Discovery Bars that are more prominently placed and designed, and highlight or showcase a certain brand to tempt you to discover them (thus, the name) and helps keep your shopping experience from becoming staid. There are two in the fragrance section, and one in the skincare section (yes, that’s the one with the sink), where brands will be displayed on a rotation every two weeks.
While we think the fragrance Discovery Bars are nothing to shout about (they do make trying out of fragrances less intimidating, somehow), we like the addition of the sink, which adds a homey touch and really draws home the emphasis on how Sephora wants to make the in-store shopping experience feel more relatable and interactive, especially if you are there for the personal shopper experience or a workshop.
4. New and expanded shelves for your favourite brands
Photo: Sephora. Yes! Pat McGrath Labs has an entire wall shelf at this outlet! (!! we’re adding two more exclamation marks because we really can’t contain our excitement.)
In case you haven’t noticed, we’re geeking out as Pat McGrath Labs takes its rightful place among the rest of the beauty giants in the Sephora Takashimaya store. It was previously only available online and has a small end-cap shelf space at Sephora Ion featuring only its lipsticks. You can find makeup palettes, eyeshadow pots and more at its new and latest home in Sephora Takashimaya. Adding to our excitement is also finding out that Drunk Elephant, Dr Dennis Gross and Sephora Collection will have expanded shelf spaces, so their fans can spot them more easily.
5. A focus on fragrances
Photo: Sephora. The new Jo Malone London counter and Discovery Bars make shopping for a new fragrance feel less stifling because of the open-concept layout.
Sephora Takashimaya is the first outlet to have what it calls a Fragrance Boutique. You can’t miss the Jo Malone counter which stands at the corner of the revamped store (beside the Armani Exchange boutique), and the dedicated shelves for Aerin, Miller Harris and Loewe, as they take their places among their counterparts. That, and the earlier mentioned two Discovery Bars, make this outlet a great stop for trying out new fragrances, because of the new brands available and how the layout lets the fragrance section take centrestage.
6. Dedicated shelves for redemption packages and travel-sized products
Left: The travel-sized products are now placed on narrow shelves labelled Beauty on the fly. Right: The rewards redemption gifts are now front and centre in the skincare section of the store on a shelf, instead of a by-the-way location at the cashier counters.
We’ve all been there. Whether you have one or 25 items in your shopping basket, you join the snaking queue at the cashier counter hoping to pay and make a quick getaway (before your itchy hands put more sample-and trial-sized products into your basket) only to find yourself suddenly becoming like a kid at a candy store with the myriad of offerings that are bombarding you at the shelves that mark the queues. That, or having to ask that customer in front of you if she’s in the queue or just checking out the mini-sized products.
At Sephora Takashimaya, the mini-sized products are placed in shelves of their own, to minimise distractions. The redemption gifts are also placed on a shelf end at the skincare section, so you won’t have to jostle your way to the cashier to find out what they are.
7. Free Wi-Fi
Okay, we’re not terribly excited about this but since it’s complimentary, why not, right?