In case you haven’t heard, Sephora is the latest in a slew of overseas chains with its sights on Australia. While it was really only a matter of time before the global beauty behemoth would make the move, we’ve now got a slightly more precise timeline: The first half of 2015 for Sydney, with approximately 25 stores slated to open across the country in the next few years. But not everyone is excited about it. David Jones and Myer were hoping to host Sephora concessions before Sephora decided to go it alone. And while cost harmonisation means we’ll never be able to get a Touché Éclat at American prices, there’s more than one reason department stores are feeling threatened.
1. Freebies are the way to our hearts.
No one is immune to the power of freebies. Ever watched wealthy socialites at Fashion Week squabbling over goodie bags of tissue paper and 2GB USB sticks? Only at Sephora the freebies are actually good. Every beauty purchase comes with three samples, which could be anything from a fragrance to a mini mascara. They also offer free mini makeovers in case you’ve crashed at a friend’s place and need to look hot for brunch.
2. Convenience of having everything in one place.
Ain’t nobody got time for shuffling down Pitt Street mall between Myer for your new foundation and the discount pharmacy for a $2 bottle of acetone. Busy people are willing to pay a little extra couple of dollars for the latter item to avoid the hassle.
3. We’re not as stupid as you think.
Some people love having products pushed on them by overzealous clerks. Others would rather consult their smartphone for price discrepancies and user reviews. Sephora employees don’t work on commission and aren’t loyal to one brand, meaning you won’t get the death stare if you abandon the Benefit counter for the NARS one.
4. The power of cult products
An eye palette can be as much of a statement piece as an embellished box clutch, even if you’re not actually wearing it. Limited edition, collectable or just really in-demand items make you feel like your only regret about dropping $54 on an Urban Decay Naked 2 palette is that you don’t also own 1 and 3.
5. Home brands don’t have to suck.
Sephora’s own line is a huge contributor to the $4.4 billion the chain pulls in annually. Its makeup brushes are particularly budget-friendly (really, YSL? You’re not going to include an applicator with that $30 eyeliner?) and its excellent collaborations (Pantone, Divergent) are further reason to go in-house.