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For skincare brand Youth To The People, the death of retail comes to what kind of store you’re running. “I think the luxury stores, the specific stores, will actually do really well because people will want that customized, very succinct experience,” said co-founder Joe Cloyes on the Glossy Beauty Podcast. “Whereas I think the bigger stores, people are realizing how easy it is to buy online.”

The company’s own pop-up store in Los Angeles, which only lasted a few months until January of this year, was in the former camp, said Cloyes. He and his cousin (and fellow co-founder) Greg Gonzalez are still planning on opening their own space at a later date.

Youth To The People also sells through Sephora, it’s biggest partner, but “we want people to come in and generally walk into something unique,” Gonzalez said. “When you walk into a strong retail environment, especially one that’s specific to a brand, you feel the essence of that brand. You know it. There’s something specific you can call out.”

Here are a few highlights from the conversation, which have been lightly edited for clarity.

Digital transition was already underway
Cloyes: “None of our marketing or customer conversations were outside of digital [pre-pandemic]. It really all was digitally-based, so there wasn’t this big shift of, ‘Oh my gosh we have to change our entire marketing plan for the year. But what we did have is have our field team in stores introducing Youth To The People to the customers in Sephora and educating on our products. It was, ‘How do we shift them to build that online customer experience that has everyone, especially when Covid[-19] really started, at home.’ [Our site is filled with] direct-to-customer experiences with skin sessions, or through our Instagram and other social media, [where we talk about having] good vibes at home.”

Skin care was already in; now it’s relevant
Gonzalez: “With wellness in general, people are figuring out what they can control and what they can take care of. I’m at home, I can take care of my skin, eat really good, order different things and cook different vegetables I love, fix the house up … I think people are finding ways to get that self-love and wellness in different ways, and skincare really falls into that category.”

Small stores with real purpose will do best
Cloyes: “As things hopefully get better, you’re going to see a different experience, but people are still going to want to go out and get more of an experience at the store they go to. I think the luxury stores, the specific stores, will actually do really well because people will want that customized, very succinct experience. Whereas I think the bigger stores, people are realizing how easy it is to buy online, and everyone’s talking about the great digital shift [has been happening] over the last three months.”