We've all been there - nearing the bottom of a bottle of your favourite foundation, and weighing up the inevitable pain of battling your way through a busy Oxford Street department store to replace it, against the easier option of just exposing your bare face to the world. Well, replacing our staple makeup items has just become infinitely easier, thanks to Fabled on Tottenham Court Road.
I have long asked myself why shops like Sephora don't exist in the UK - we're either stuck with a wall display full of lurid eye shadows in Boots, or being bashed out of the way by a parent in search of school shoes at a busy department store concession. The whole process of makeup shopping had become daunting and needed a bit of a switch up.
What is it?
Fabled is a dedicated makeup shop, hosted by an unlikely partnership between Marie Claire and Ocado, just off Oxford Circus. A sleek, modern store front is equal parts premium and intriguing - I've been recommending a visit to everyone I know (even before I'd been in myself...). This is, by all accounts, Ocado's first bricks and mortar shop, and Marie Claire's first foray into retail, however the union seems to work. The combination of recommendations from the experts at the magazine, and the ability to top up your weekly food shop with your favourite lipstick seems so obvious now, but it is actually revolutionary in itself.
Why does it work?
Firstly, as previously mentioned, the UK does not have an equivalent of Sephora - the people need make up, why make it tough for them to get? So, Fabled fills that gap nicely. However its success, in my view, lies in its layout - whilst the store is divided by brand, it has also developed a categorising system around the store. By dividing the cosmetics between their use (face, eye lips etc.), and then by colour, the Ocado influence in the store's conception shines through - and it works incredibly well. The target market for a store like Fabled is used to the convenience of online shopping - filtering down all items until you find the one you're searching for - however, buying items like cosmetics online is incredibly difficult. There are questions over skin tone, finish, complexion, that can only really be answered in person, so how brilliant is it to have the best of both worlds - the ability to find what you're looking for quickly, and then have that choice validated by an expert?
Whilst I've had to hold myself back from buying nearly all of the products on display at Fabled (believe me, it was harder than expected), I'm incredibly impressed by the shop. Its sleek design, intuitive layout and dedicated makeup experts make it one of the nicest retail experiences I've had lately, and has made me preach to nearly every person I meet about its brilliance. They say that word of mouth is one of the most valuable forms of marketing, and so you're welcome Fabled - I have not shut up about you since you opened!