Cityscape

Kansas City-based Beauty Brands kicks off new look at Plaza store

rsugg@kcstar.com

Two decades after Beauty Brands was founded in Kansas City — and more than a year after new owners took over — the company is rolling out a new store concept.

The first remodeled store opened Friday at 438 Ward Parkway on the Country Club Plaza. The store nearly doubled in size, taking over a space to the east that was formerly home to Kaplan’s Fabrics.

The company also rolled out the concept in an Oklahoma store in December and has since opened two more stores with the new look in Texas. A Shawnee location, in Shawnee Station at 15310 Shawnee Mission Parkway, is scheduled to open this summer.

The new design has several interactive “play stations” where customers can try out featured products — a Beauty Bench for color and skin care; a Hair Bench for new styling tools and hair products; an Origins Bench for the Origins product line; and a fragrance bar with a variety of fragrances to sample.

Representatives from beauty supply companies also will often be at the interactive stations during high traffic days to introduce new items.

New lines include prestige brands as well as independents that are hard to find in the metro: L’Occitane, Origins, Indie Lee, Mai Couture, Nia24, Ren Clean Skincare, Rodial, True Isaac Mizrahi, Nest fragrance and Julep.

Lyn Kirby, chairman and chief executive officer of Beauty Brands, said customers will have times when they want to get their favorite products quickly and be on their way, but other times “it is clear that Beauty Brands is her escape, her downtime.”

“The store employees are not on commission so there is never any pressure. They are there to educate and help,” she said. “What today’s woman wants is her trusted marquee brands but she likes to discover lesser known brands and lesser known products under the marquee brands.”

Kirby said Beauty Brands is still “small and nimble” enough to work with the independents who can supply the 60-store chain but may not be able to supply a chain with hundreds of locations.

The newly remodeled Plaza store also now offers services like a Blowout Bar for a quick wash and blowdry, and a Brow Bar for eyebrow shaping, waxing and tweezing. It also has offers several new face and body treatments.

The Plaza store also will be a laboratory of sorts for the Kansas City-based company, Kirby said, a place where corporate officials can get immediate customer feedback on new lines and services.

Beautry Brands plans to open 15 more stores this year under the new concept and 30 in 2016.

When the company was founded in 1995, it was billed as the first operation to offer time-starved consumers the convenience of a full-service salon, spa and retail store under one roof. But the company wants to be a strong national retailer like competitors Ulta Beauty and Sephora and needed a major influx of capital to expand.

Two former Ulta executives are now heading Beauty Brands, which has more than 2,000 employees company-wide.

To reach Joyce Smith, call 816-234-4692 or send email to jsmith@kcstar.com. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter at JoyceKC

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