February 6th, 2017
They’re in every shopping centre and on every high street, and we’ve always popped in to pick up our faves from Chanel, Clarins and YSL. But over the last 18 months, we’ve been watching with interest what’s been going on down at the beauty counters of our local Debenhams. First it was the coup of bringing Make up For Ever to the consumer, backed with a major ad campaign with Rankin, then it was Kat Von D and Too Faced.
We caught up with Sara Stern: Divisional Director of Womenswear, Childrenswear and Beauty, to find out more about their plans.
WP: What’s your background and how long have you been with Debenhams Beauty?
SS: I’ve been working with Debenhams for the over 20 years, specifically beauty for 10 years
WP: What is the vision for Debenhams Beauty?
SS: To be the Number One destination for beauty and in particular make-up, offering the best choice, experience and service within a contemporary cosmetics hall, both online and in store.
WP: In how many stores are you currently available and what is the plan for growth?
SS: We currently have 165 stores with plans to expand in the future.
WP: How do you select the brands that you want to work with?
SS: We are very selective about the brands we take on. We want to make sure they appeal to the Debenhams customer and, mostly, have a niche offering that bring in a new kind of customer.
WP: When looking at unknown brands, what are your criteria for selection?
SS: We look for new innovative brands with efficacy and stance on social platforms. We’re recognising the demand and rise for social beauty and working hard to make that demand assessable to our customers with exciting newness.
WP: Cult brands from other territories are a major part of your offering. How does this drive your strategy?
SS: It’s a key factor when looking at bringing new brands into Debenhams, especially those that aren’t in the UK market yet.
WP: You’re doing some great collaborations – what drives the choice of partner?
SS: Partners who have not only stand out product but also a social following and ethos that matches our own.
WP: What are your particular favourites?
SS: We are very proud of the exclusive Kat Von D and Make Up For Ever launches which gave our make-up category a new and exciting dimension bringing in new customers.
WP: Do you have anything for the professional makeup artist in store?
SS: Many of the brands we stock are pro-favourites, one being exclusive brand, Make Up For Ever which has a wide offering of product. Most recently, we’ve restructured the counter in our Debenhams Oxford street store to create Go Pro, a new counter concept giving every day customers a chance to be a professional make-up artist.
WP: What should we look out for in the future?
SS: Definitely continue to keep an eye on the Debenhams Beauty offering as we are forever growing.