Clean lipstick brand Bite Beauty is expanding its brick-and-mortar Lip Lab stores with a new location in Brooklyn on Tuesday.
Launched in 2013, Bite Beauty has five Bite Labs locations, including in Toronto and San Francisco, and will expand to multiple locations in 2020, said Christie Jack, svp of international and gm of Lip Lab by Bite. She declined to disclose how many stores will debut next year or the company’s current financial information. The expansion plan is a deviation from the brand’s existing retail strategy over the past six years. (The first store launched in NYC’s Soho neighborhood in 2013.) Bite Beauty sees its store concepts as more relevant, now that the customization and clean beauty trends have entered mainstream conversation. Customers at Bite Labs can work with a store associate to formulate their own lipstick shade, and the new retail strategy is designed to encourage people to bring friends or host group events at the stores.
Currently, Bite Beauty’s stores can accommodate up to 13 people per hour. Thee new locations will be 50% larger, offering more space for exploration and accommodating 18 people. The Brooklyn location will serve as a testbed for new features, such as online group booking appointments on both the hour and the half-hour. This will be live on the Bite Beauty site for all stores in January.
“We have spent quite a bit of time thinking about what is the right experience,” said Jack. “We believe that Lip Lab by Bite offers great lipsticks, but it’s also a customized, personalized entertainment experience. We wanted to create an environment conducive to bringing that to life in a much bigger way.”
Compared to the other four Kendo-owned brands, such as Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty and Kat Von D, Bite Beauty has had a quiet social presence. With 663,000 followers on Instagram, the brand is far behind Fenty’s 8.8 million followers. Despite a smaller social presence, it is the only Kendo property to have standalone stores, providing several opportunities for both the brand and Kendo overall, said Syama Meagher, Scaling Retail consultancy founder and CEO. Bite Beauty can learn more about its customer base and use any store data for future product development, and could also inform Kendo about future brands to incubate.
Customization also offers the brand the chance to align itself with another mainstream conversation: inclusivity.
“The notion of customization in beauty is important because of the inclusive nature of it,” said Meagher, adding that she sees Bite Labs’ purpose as offering personalized products. “Other than being a different kind of experience, I see it less rooted in event marketing but more in individuality.”
To support the retail strategy, its social media presence will begin emphasizing community, said Vickie Teng, Bite Beauty marketing director. Although there is no set cadence for social posts, she said they will include imagery of parties held at the store and people creating lipsticks together, as well as user-generated group content. In addition, posts will promote in-store incentives like engraving and opportunities for hosting group activities, like bachelorette parties. Right now, social media posts are focused on products or UGC.
“In the past, a lot of our [visual] assets and our posts have been about finding the perfect shade for you,” said Teng. “But now we’re leaning into the fact that Bite Beauty is something to share.”