Bluemercury’s Marla Malcolm Beck Is in the Hot Seat

Marla Malcolm Beck, founder of the flawlessly edited beauty boutique Bluemercury, which is more streamlined than Sephora, but equally as shoppable, and more uniquely curated than Ulta, found herself In the Hot Seat this month.

She revealed her new collabo with Trish McEvoy, how she achieves a red lip inspired by the women of Paris; and more.

It’s worth noting that we <3 Bluemercury because it stocks Sarah Happ’s The Lip Slip, the prettiest, glossiest pink balm ever. The stores are not clearinghouses; while the attendants are product experts, shopping at Bluemercury is a pleasant experience since the selection is so focused and carefully edited.

BN: What are the biggest trends for Holiday 2013? Any new launches you are particularly excited about?
MM: I have two favorite holiday look trends. One is the Brigitte Bardot look — dramatic eyes and nude lip. Trish McEvoy and I co-designed a planner that lets you achieve this look, with one of my favorite items, the 24-Hours Topaz Eye Shadow Stick; you could sleep in it and it would still be on in the morning.

The other is the Parisian red or berry lip. When I was in Paris with our family last March, every chic Parisian woman had nude eyes – maybe even no eye makeup– and a bold red lip, no matter what time of day! This look is carrying through to holiday. So easy – you just need a go-to lip (product). Mine is NARS Fast Ride, which is more on the wine side with Chanel lip gloss Impertinence, a glossy pink/berry, over top.

BN: What are two or three of your fave Bluemercury-stocked products you cannot live without?
MM: I cannot live without exfoliating peels and vitamin C – these are the only things I travel with. M-61 Power Glow Peel and M-61 Vitablast C. La Mer Eye Concentrate is one of the best overnight eye creams around. Revive’s new Moisturizing Renewal Serum is to die for.

BN: Favorite beauty product of all time?
MM: I cannot live without the perfect mascara; for me, Trish McEvoy High Volume Mascara.

BN: How do you address products that you’ve stocked that the company and staff LOVED but didn’t take off in the marketplace? Do you ever restrategize?
MM: We usually test products at three to five locations to see if they work. Some may work at one location, but not at the other three. I keep trying to find the perfect, universally loved natural line, but have been unsuccessful. Tammy Fender makes beautiful, beautiful products, so does REN. But only our consumers who really love natural go to these brands. Yes, we restrategize, but I always have a tough time letting go of these young entrepreneurial brands that I love.

BN: Can you give us a little insight into your background and history?
MM: I founded Bluemercury when I was 29 with my husband. I was always a product junkie; I grew up in California and had facials long before anyone knew what facials were. Back then, you could only buy cosmetics at drugstores or department stores. There were very few freestanding beauty stores. I thought it would be great to be the first to create the friendly, neighborhood store where you could get expert, honest advice, coveted brands and spa services.

BN: Can you share a little insight into how Bluemercury edits what it stocks in stores?
MM: We love brands that are created by entrepreneurs who are experts at what they do. This is our heritage. 14 years ago, we launched Francois NARS, Laura Mercier, Trish McEvoy, Bobbi Brown, Bliss (Marcia Kilgore) and Fresh (Lev and Alina), all when their creators had just launched. Recent examples are Oribe, Sarah Happ, Lafco Home – these are all created by people who are industry experts.

BN: In the changing landscape, with more and more people shopping online, what are some of the challenges of a brick and mortar storefront and how do you keep people coming in?
MM: We don’t see any challenges – beauty products are a high advice category where the consumer wants information and expertise about finding the right skincare product, the right hair styling product, the right foundation or lipstick. There are many more ways to gather information now – it used to be mainly friends and magazines; now it is blogs, Facebook, Vine, Instagram, the list goes on and on. But at the end of the day, you want to touch and feel products and our highly trained, absolute product junkie in-store experts are amazing at helping clients choose the perfect product!

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