To get the full picture of the excitement build up we need to go back in time a little. I first heard of Harvey Nichols plans to open the Beauty Bazaar back in the summer when I was researching beauty retail concepts for a personal project. To say I was excited would be an understatement. The reality is, I squealed and almost did a wee (keyword: almost.) I was also a tiny bit bummed because the personal project I was researching was basically this concept and I wanted to open it myself. The business plan was finished, I had confirmed brands and I was just about to start looking for funding. Finding out Harvey Nics with all its millions and millions of pounds, flawless reputation and celebrity following was coming to town soon made me shelve the business plan and decide I wanted to work there. Long story short, I applied for Personal Shopper (scream!) and I didn't get it (BOO!). For a few hours after finding out this sad fact, I was going to boycott the store. Few hours...Then I became, once again, ridiculously, fat-kid-sees-cake excited again. Such is the power of capitalism and my penchant for shiny, beautiful, exclusive makeup brands.
So, we arrange a girls day. Me, Sian and my age old friend Andrea who is not a makeup artist but has an increasingly concerning but ultimately brilliant QVC beauty addiction. Sian is late due to some hilariously unfortunate mishap...actually I don't know if that's true but this is usually why she is late for personal appointments more often than not. From choking herself in public with her headphones, ransacking a local Boots or losing her bra when she had already left the house (these have genuinely happened) it makes me love her more than most other people because she is a hoot. So we have to go in without her because we literally can't wait another minute and Andrea has abandoned her boyfriend -who just so happens to be wearing a Manchester United football shirt- in the middle of Liverpool so we need to get a shift on.
|We came, we saw, we shopped.|
The first word out of our mouths is "WOW!" and "OMG!" not "oh my god" but literally "OMG!". Its so beautiful in there it makes you regress to a teenage girl just seeing One Direction for the first time or Rylan Clarke meeting all of the Spice Girls at once and being offered a 6th member spot. It glitters and shines and sparkles in the most inviting way possible.
Directly to your left as you walk in is a huge MAC concession. In a relatively small (albeit major) city that already has a very large free standing MAC store, it comes off as a bit weird and also a waste of beautiful Harvey Nics space. Not because MAC isn't ace just because it makes me wonder if they wont be watering down the profits of the free standing store. I understand the reason its there and that's because Estée Lauder can afford the biggest and most prime spot in the place and really, that's what matters most lets be honest. Directly to your right as you walk in is the holy grail of beauty at the moment, Tom Ford Beauty. I was more excited about this than any other counter they had but they don't have the full range and the girls on counter were disinterested and snooty.
The store leads you around quite nicely and the lower floor is kind of horse shoe shaped. After MAC we get to Nars with a Shu Uemura right opposite (girly screams!). Even though Liverpool is really fashion forward and has a lot of spending power when it comes to beauty this is the first time we have had these brands. In the past I have had to order online or go to Manchester (about an hour train journey) to buy them. This section ended up being were we spent most of our time and money. The Nars counter must have truly loved us as all three of us spent quite a bit there. Sian bought pretty much the entire counter or maybe it just felt that way. I think I could happily run a full kit of just Nars products but this wasn't the only reason we stayed there so long. The girl (I now know to be called Mia. Everyone go and book in with her, shes ace!) that served us was an absolute sweetheart. She was attentive and well groomed. Her makeup was beautiful and she clearly loved her Nars as much as we did. She had the balance between selling and genuinely caring just right. The same cannot be said for the girls on Laura Mercier. They occupy the same spot on the opposite side of the horse shoe shape. Andrea and I went over there before Sian arrived because she was looking for a good primer and I love the hydrating version they make. After I showed the tester to Andrea and we chatted about it for a minute, we stood waiting for someone to ask us what we wanted for a good 5 minutes. Eventually an unkempt looking teenager approached us without so much as a smile. She opened a draw under the counter and literally stared into it for what felt like an hour then the next draw then the next and so on. Then she disappeared entirely only to come back to us with a "Sorry we haven't got it." That was it. She just looked at us until I offered up "Oh well you have a counter in John Lewis, will they have it there?"....Guess what she said people?! Yeah she went with "Dunno!". This was their second day open to the public and this girl seemed like she had already lost the will to live.
The rest of the lower floor is occupied by the usual brands. Clinique, Benefit, Bobbi Brown etc but for me, the real magic of Beauty Bazaar is on the 1st floor. Having forcibly carried Sian away from Nars and me resisting the urge to squirt every kind of mousse Shu Uemura make all over myself, we went up the very glittery escalators into beauty and nail heaven. Within two seconds we had lost Andrea to the Nails Inc Champagne Bar (yes, this really exists!) while myself and Sian spent a good long while browsing the amazing BeautyMART. I nabbed myself the last bottle of Bioderma Créaline and we had a brilliant chat with one of the girls there who is known only as "HW" on my receipt. She showed us the counters built in iPads that meant we could browse their blog to find out about products and post our own comments while we shopped. She took a genuine interest in our freelance work and even chucked a few compliments our way, mainly about Sian's eyebrows but they are bloody good eyebrows so I wont hate.
When we caught up with Andrea she was having her nails done (for free) by one of the Nails Inc girls. I wish I could remember her name because she is one of the loveliest girls I have ever spoken to! We were offered a glass of champagne while she demonstrated their new set "Bling It On". Seeing the beautiful blue jewel like shine coming off Andie's ring finger nails tempted me to sit down and try it out.
|Andrea kindly snapped the results!|
This is when we saw the Wow Bar for the first time. Elegant and plush as you expect from Harvey Nics, the bar is lined with iPads complete with Internet connection and twitter/facebook access. Perfect place to dump partners/parents/grans with a glass of champers or a very deluxe and delicious Latte. You can even park yourself there and let the stores dedicated Personal Shopper do all the hard work for you even though they wont be nearly as good as me and that sucks for Harvey Nics. Just kidding. Honest. No really, jokes!
We didn't go up to the next floor as this is where all the treatment rooms, medispa etc are situated. Next time I go in I will pay it a visit to get price lists etc.
All in all Harvey Nics has created a wonderland for beauty addicts. It truly is The Hub of beauty not only in Liverpool but in the whole UK. Its a testament to Liverpool women and how much they pride themselves in looking good that Harvey Nichols chose my beautiful city to showcase this unique, exciting concept. I DO wish they had more "exclusive in Liverpool" brands and in particular more French pharmacy brands. I also think that individual counters could really do with training their staff more and follow the example set by all the Harvey Nics staff we met that day who were brilliant, helpful and made our "experience" a very pleasant and indulgent one.
Everyone within a 100 mile radius who loves makeup and beauty as much as me and my two Warpaint Warriors, Andrea and Sian should make the pilgrimage to our very own place of Beauty Worship or go just because you Love Thyself!
|Current advertising campaign.|