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Brigada’s shop concept for a Slovenian cosmetics brand: the first store in the world with all natural cosmetics that offers clients a chance to create their own product, which then is produced by a robot inside the store in real time

AlpStories is a cosmetics brand combining the traditional therapeutic usage of essential oils from the Austrian Alps with modern preparation technology. Brigada’s assignment was to create a shop concept and to apply it to a newly opened store in Zagreb’s Arena Centre. As the brand itself, the store also had to mirror the link between nature and technology. Spatial organization emphasizes the personal approach to each customer. By combining colors, materials and structures, the entire space evokes freshness from the Alps while communicating nature & technology collaboration.

Store design is based on original retail presence concept that Brigada created according to the brand characteristics and market positioning. AlpStories has two main, but very different product stories – ‘Our story’ which presents branded cosmetic products created by the AlpStories specialists, and ‘Your story’ that is based on displaying the cosmetic products customers create themselves. ‘Our story’ is consistent, strong and clear, while ‘Your story’ is spontaneous and very heterogeneous because of the endless possibilities customers have in personalizing the products. The main feature that illustrates these endless creative possibilities is a technically advanced robot that is used in production of the products. The professional and scientific approach to the customer is present inside the store with stations for ‘Your story’ product design and an electronic skin analyzer.

AlpStories products are new on the market and before the store opening were sold exclusively through on-line channels. Their customer base constantly grew over that time thanks to high quality products and the possibility to create the product yourself using their basic ingredients, according to the specific needs or skin types of every person. This user experience that works so well online had to be transferred into the physical store too, with the addition of the one thing the internet can’t provide – a human touch. Customers sometimes need professional advice, help or simply someone to share their experience with and that is the main task the store staff has. The other new feature that had to be introduced in the store was the possibility to display and sell the unique products customers created themselves.

This is the first store in the world with all natural cosmetics that offers clients a chance to create their own product, which then is produced by a robot inside the store in real time. The robot is uniquely developed by scientists in Slovenia for this purpose, based on medicinal transplant technology. By using this fully automatized method, there is no possibility of human error while mixing the product.

Customers can, apart from the possibility to choose from pre-made products, ask the AlpStories staff to run an electronic skin analysis and help them decide which combination of essential oils and basic ingredients suites them best. After receiving the analyses data, customers can move to the mixing station where using a touch screen computer, in only 4 steps, they create their own product based on the results. In a matter of seconds, the robot inside the store receives the data and starts preparing their product. Customers can see their product being produced right in front of them and while it is being prepared they have time to design the label and name it.

The so called ‘your story’ area allows the users that have created a great new cream, gave it a cool name and label design to then display it, sell it and make extra cash. This ‘community store’ concept is unique on the market, allows everybody to create their own brand and gives them chance to potentially start a small business. Apart from having to go to the store to create the product, it is possible to go through the process on-line, on the AlpStories web site, while the in-store robot still begins producing the product as soon as you finish. At the entrance Brigada placed the store’s most unique feature – the robot. It is inside a special sterile room and works all day on creating unique products while attracting attention and creating interest from all the potential clients passing by.

Most customers that don’t have sensitive skin or complex skin issues choose from the ‘our story’ segment of the store where branded products are placed on wooden shelves inside a slate stone covered wall. The slate stone and pine wood connect the store design to the area where the ingredients come from and takes customers right to the source. All customers that are new to the brand or have some skin issues, can have their skin tested and, with help from the professional staff, decide which ingredients suit their skin type best. This service is offered for free and helps create a stronger brand connection between the shoppers and AlpStories. The area where the customers themselves can display and sell the products they created and designed for a fee (Your story) turns the store into something more than a place that sells cosmetics. It becomes a community store, a place that allows everybody to create a product, display it and make a profit.

This level of complete personalization and direct connection to the online makes this a truly unique store and a great experimental model for the future of retail.

Design: Brigada / Damjan Geber (Creative Director) / Marina Brletic & Ena Tadej (Architects) / Ivana Validzic (Project Manager) / Vlatka Leskovar (Product Designer)
Brigada is part of Bruketa&Zinic OM group of agencies.
Photography: Domagoj Kunic

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