The CultureMap Interview
Bluemercury CEO explains why she chose Dallas and local expansion plans
Bluemercury, a luxury, one-stop beauty shop, debuted its first Texas location in Highland Park Village on May 19. With more than 90 skincare and cosmetics brands — including big names like Laura Mercier and Nars and proprietary line M-61 — and an extensive menu of spa services, it is certain to be a hit with Dallas’ most discerning beauty buyers.
Founder and CEO Marla Malcolm Beck was in town to celebrate the opening, so we visited with her about how she turned a hobby into a career, why Dallas has always been in her sights and her expansion plans for Bluemercury (hint: Southlake Town Center in the fall).
CultureMap: Did you always know you wanted to be involved in the beauty industry?
Marla Malcolm Beck: I didn’t. I have always been a beauty junkie. I used to drive 30 miles to get a specific lipstick. I would go into Henri Bendel in New York to get MAC lipstick because that was the only place you could find it.
I don’t know how I even knew it was there — this was before the Internet — so it was really a hobby that became a business. Making your passion into a business: That’s what we look for in the brands we carry.
CM: How do you select new brands?
MMB: It’s a little bit like venture capital, really, looking for that point of difference. We like finding entrepreneurs who are passionate about what they are creating. We don’t just look at the product; we look at where they are headed.
Francois Nars [NARS Cosmetics] was working out of a room when I met him. When we first picked up Fresh, they only had a line of limited soaps. It’s just not just about the product; it’s about the person behind the line.
CM: What makes Bluemercury stores special?
MMB: People want convenience, to pull up out front, stop in for what they need and go. When you walk into one of our stores, our salespeople know everything about every line. You don’t have to go from one counter to another.
CM: Why did you select Highland Park Village as your first Texas location?
MMB: I visited Highland Park for the first time when I was in Dallas with some HBS [Harvard Business School] friends. We came to Highland Park Village to do some shopping and have coffee. It was such a unique place, so I’ve always known we eventually wanted to be here.
CM: What do you think differentiates the Highland Park Village shopper?
MMB: Shopping has become much more a part of a lifestyle, and I think the women in Highland Park Village really embody that. She’s not just here to shop. She may be here having lunch, hanging out with a friend; she may live close by. She wants somewhere easy and convenient to stop in and pick up what she needs.
CM: Do you have plans for additional Texas stores?
MMB: Yes —Texas women love their beauty products! We are opening in Southlake in the fall, and then Houston.
Bluemercury is hosting a public grand opening celebration on Saturday, May 30, 10 am-7 pm, with cupcakes, makeovers and mini-facials. The first 100 attendees get a deluxe gift bag.