Murad, the dermatologist-founded skin-care brand, is reinforcing its position in the wellness market with the launch of a three-city pop-up event.
Founded by Dr. Howard Murad in 1989, the beauty brand has always sold products to combat the effects of personal stress and environmental factors on the skin, but as the wellness industry has matured, Murad wants to signal to customers that they were in the space long before it became a modern fad. The pop-up, referred to as a “Wellness Vault,” will begin in Los Angeles at Westfield Century City mall on June 22, before traveling to other Westfield locations in San Francisco in June and San Diego in July. The company, which was acquired by Unilever in 2015, expects to see a double-digit compound annual growth rate in sales over the next three years, but a brand spokesperson declined to cite specific figures. Murad is sold at Sephora, Ulta, Macy’s and Nordstrom, among other retailers, and it does not have any standalone stores.
“One of our big missions is to amplify our purpose and our [wellness] D.N.A. It’s always been there, but it hasn’t been out there much,” said Michelle Shigemasa, CEO of Murad. “One of the changes we have made is connecting with consumers directly.”
The pop-up is the most direct way that the brand plans to connect with consumers. It will feature different rooms and stations in an attempt to reach people through the five senses of taste, smell, touch, sight and sound. There is a wall where visitors can write down and post promises to themselves, and an opportunity to sample fresh fruit juices to emphasize Murad’s advice to “eat your water” through fruits and vegetables. People can also receive hand massages and participate in sound bath meditation sessions. Notably, the brand will not sell any product in the pop-up but will offer three free deluxe-sized samples of its hydration product line, which was originally called the Age Reform line. The brand said it expects to distribute 6,000 total samples.
“Events today are different. It’s not just about selling products, but it’s about connection and experience,” said Shigemasa. “We want to ignite [attendees’] passions and to make them more aware of that connection between feeling well and looking beautiful.”
It seems every brand in every industry is now investing in the age-old idea of inner-outer beauty. Wellness has grown to a $4.2 trillion market as of 2017, with the beauty and anti-aging segment accounting for over $1 trillion. Murad is not the only brand trying to refocus consumer attention to its wellness heritage. Others doing so include Shiseido, Naturopathica and even supplement company GNC, which launched CBD products in April. Murad is notably not aligned with the clean, organic or natural beauty movement, even though it operates within the wellness industry where clean beauty can often be found.
“The challenge we face today is that so many brands are trying to be wellness brands,” said Shigemasa. Dr. Murad, the founder of the brand, will be present at each pop-up to meet people and answer questions about how the stress of modern living affects the hormonal balance of the body, health and skin.
“We are looking at the whole picture, because skin care is health care to us,” said Murad.
To promote the pop-up experience, the brand is focusing on a myriad of channels. In addition to national online press outlets, the brand is inviting local media in each pop-up city to a press and influencer preview of the space before it opens. The brand will also send geo-targeted emails to customers, although it declined to share how many. Additionally, Murad will promote the pop-ups through its own social media channels, including Instagram and Facebook (where it has 318,000 followers and 690,000 “likes,” respectively) and geo-targeted paid ads. The pop-up details will live as a banner across the top of the Murad.com homepage, as well as in an ad-like tile on the homepage. The brand will evaluate the success of the pop-up by looking at social media engagement, and number of new followers and new emails captured during the series. The brand plans to promote the pop-up to “several hundred thousand” consumers, a brand spokesperson said.
“We want people to enjoy themselves, to enjoy the brand and to make a connection,” said Shigemasa. “You have to go deeper than the skin to have beautiful results.”