NYX Cosmetics is looking to expand its base of freestanding Canadian store locations, after launching in the Greater Toronto Area (‘GTA’) in the fall of 2015. British Columbia is the next market that the brand will target, according to brand director Rachelle Mladjenovic.
L’Oréal bought NYX (Named after the Greek goddess of the night, pronounced ‘Nix’) in 2014, and has expanded the brand significantly to include product lines in retailers selling cosmetics (such as Canadian retailers Shoppers Drug Mart, Rexall and London Drugs) and, most recently, freestanding stores. NYX was founded by Toni Ko in 1999, and is headquartered in Los Angeles. The brand is known for its high quality, affordably-priced rich-pigment cosmetics, which have gained a loyal following both with makeup artists as well as the general public. The brand stocks a wider variety of shades of foundation than most competitors, making it hugely popular in multicultural centres such as Toronto.
Ms. Mladjenovic explained that, based on consumer online searches, NYX determined that its first Canadian markets for freestanding stores should be in Ontario and British Columbia. NYX launched its first Ontario locations late last year at Mississauga’s Square One and at 363 Queen Street West in Toronto, and last month it opened a third GTA store at CF Toronto Eaton Centre. Stores are “the brand in 3-D”, she explained.
NYX will open four more stores in Canada in 2016, including locations at Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto and at CF Rideau Centre in Ottawa. Streetfront locations prove popular with Millennials — a key target demographic for NYX. Retail expert Farla Efros, President of HRC Advisory, noted that a freestanding brick and mortar strategy is smart marketing for the brand, following its gaining recognition through drug store and other retail/wholesale channels. Ms. Efros explained the ‘Four F’s (Fast, Fashionable, Feasible and Favored) and how NYX is addressing younger consumers (including Millennials and ‘Generation Z’) with an enhanced in-store experience, be it in popular shopping centres or on busy, youthful Queen Street West.
Ms. Mladjenovic explained how the Queen Street location is doing better than forecasted, also partly due to its proximity to local makeup schools. That location also features a studio downstairs where staff can be trained, influencers can meet, and Instagram stars can take photos or videos, for example. Much of the brand’s awareness is through social media and loyal fans that it considers to be ‘brand ambassadors’.
NYX’s freestanding stores also allow the brand to carry a wider variety of product compared to drug stores and other wholesale channels. Larger stores can house as many as 2,500 products per location, and retail storefronts allow NYX to quickly introduce and test new products. Storefronts also allow for tailored customer service, with one-on-one interactions providing feedback useful for product development, in a manner not possible in other channels, including online.
Ms. Mladjenovic revealed that NYX’s storefronts will be getting a bit larger as the brand expands and looks to carry a wider product assortment. Most recently-opened locations are in the 800 square foot to 1,000 square foot range, though NYX’s Yorkdale and Ottawa stores will be closer to 1,300 square feet, accommodating expanded product and crowds that may gather in the store. Architectural firm Gensler (Los Angeles office) works on NYX’s store design, and brokerage Northwest Atlantic represents NYX Cosmetics in Canada for its real estate.