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Think Local | Ultra Beauty

Ultra has finally opened in Auckland! It's Chemist Warehouse's offer which has high end items from luxe brands including Diptyque, Olaplex, Gucci and Chanel.

Ultra Beauty was created by Chemist Warehouse in 2018 with the first physical store opening at the Paramount Centre in Melbourne. Since then, these store-in-store concepts have been popping up all over Australia and recently hit NZ shores.

The layout is similar to that of Sephora or Mecca store, with different brands at different counters and places to try on the latest lipsticks and foundations. Some have said it looks similar to US brand Ulta but it is a different brand.

Ultra beauty provides a great solution for luxury brands that need to be displayed and sold in an environment with a relaxing a peaceful atmosphere. Quite a contrast to what is normally seen in Chemist Warehouse stores, which is a powerhouse of messages screaming at you to buy, buy, buy.

The history to this concept is as you might imagine. Luxury and elevated brand experiences didn't want to diminish the value of their brand in such a low-end execution alongside everything from suppositories to nappies, nit treatment to cold sore cream. However, Chemist Warehouse is a powerhouse of a retailer that connects with customers on every level. Here was the rub.

The solution: to create an environment where anyone can buy at the high-end without feeling overwhelmed in often extravagant bricks-and-mortar locations. Chemist Warehouse delivers access to premium and emerging beauty brands aiming itself at a much more general consumer that its beauty industry rivals often ignore.

Premium beauty for everyone, not just the cool girls.

What we love

- The brands: the depth and breadth of range of products that often you could only get online from overseas retailers or high-end department stores (eg. Juliette has a Gun fragrance only in Smith & Caughey)

- Accessibility: we do love a good Mecca experience but can feel overwhelmed by all the "stuff." The parred back environment makes browsing super easy and relaxing. Also you don't feel like you need to have a "decent fit-on" (otherwise you will get judged). You can head into Ultra in your oodie and ugg boots (but have some dignity and get out of your PJs)

- Inclusive: You can pop in on my way home from the gym or supermarket. Boomers, male customers, middle aged people. Not just 20-somethings looking for the latest TikTok trend. Everyone is welcome and anyone can feel at home in this environment.

- Value for money: Made no mistake these prices are good. Some are great. But it's the whole equation - the combination of team members on the shop floor providing advice (and they don't look like a 15 year old Insta model which makes you feel okay), giving you genuine feedback and advice. There is good levels of stock on shelves which isn't the same if you go to somewhere like a Life Pharmacy which may have the brand but not enough stock. Ultra is "in the business" - it's not just an add-on.

- Convenience: it's in the hood. Parking is easy and you can do other things easily and just duck in, rather than having to head out to the mall or Westfield.

The downsides

- Only in-store: well at least for now. We want to be able to click and collect or get items delivered (and if possible wrapped as presents)

- Budget-killer: We spend too much when we are there

- Emotion-killer: We yearn for missed purchases that didn't make it home with us (well not this trip anyway).

👏👏👏💋 good one Chemist Warehouse. Another well executed concept for the people.


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