What is Isetan Mirror?
By Wen Shi
Isetan Mirror is the leading beauty retail destination with a curated collection of domestic and foreign luxury cosmetics. The Hibiya Midtown branch carries the largest selection in Tokyo today.
The global cosmetic market is thriving and it’s expected to grow more than 7% a year to 863 billion in 2024 according to Zion Market Research. In which case, more brands are looking to build their own direct to consumer platforms as ways to reach new clients. Department stores and multi-shops will have to compete harder than before for the same customer’s attention. The beauty store of the future will be a community destination hub where shoppers can come to be educated, shop with brand ambassadors, and be entertained while getting a blowout.
As beauty departments around the world renovate their retail floors, I made a stop in the Isetan Mirror Hibiya Midtown location to learn more about what makes this store ahead of the trend.
A Bit of History
Luxury retailer Isetan is one of the most influential department stores in Japan and a driving force of women’s and men’s fashion in Tokyo. Popular for its plaid shopping bags, designer brands, and fashion forward retail spaces. Launched in 2012, Isetan Mirror showcase the same luxury concept in beauty. Tokyo Hibiya Midtown branch, its largest lineup to date, opened in March 2018.
The store selection comprise of both Japanese and foreign brands. Japanese brands include Pola, Awake Beauty (newly debuted in New York), beauty giant Shiseido, Shu Uemura, Addiction, Three, IPSA, and RMK. The global lineup includes Clinique, Clarins, Bobbi Brown, Dior, Tom Ford, Saint Laurent, Givenchy, and Nars.
Selling by Consultation
“Isetan is known for their innovation and Isetan Mirror combines the best parts of Sephora and a department store in an open sell-sell-sell-service environment as well as a consultation area.” says Tomoko Yamagishi, SVP of Marketing, Shiseido Cosmetics America during her interview in on Tokyo Retail Innovators. She goes on to mention goes on to mention “what is great about this strategy is that customers can be left alone to shop or receive help via a consultation”. Since 2012, Isetan renamed all of their sales staff as ‘stylist’. Today, many retailers have adopted this philosophy.
“Isetan is known for their innovation and Isetan Mirror combines the best parts of Sephora and a department store in an open sell-sell-sell-service environment as well as a consultation area.”Tomoko Yamagishi, SVP of Marketing, Shiseido Cosmetics America
Shortly upon entry, I realize the beauty retail experience is embedded in serving the customer. If you are in Tokyo, it is well worth the trip. Below are my three favorite activations from Isetan Mirror.
The Lip and Nail stations made shopping truly experiential. Isetan Mirror creates individual island stations for both the nail and lip categories. Take the lip station – every lipstick shade from the store is represented and carefully organized in rosy gradient tubes. In addition, the station includes tips from influencers and mobile QR codes to media partners.
The Make Over Bar
Kerastase, usually known for its hair product launches its first ‘Make Over Bar’ modeled after the concept of a Dry bar in New York combined with that of a nail service bar counter. The Kerastase Make Over Bar provides the latest blow dry technology and curate products dedicated to each customer. While the space is simple and monochrome in its decor, the service intends to mimic the feel of a celebrity at home hairdresser.
Face & Body Care
Sixpad is a line of EMS devices and HMB supplements for women and men. Their sales staff, called training advisors, help build sustainable training plan designed for each person. The plan includes consultation of trouble spots and physical measurements using the latest body composition technology. Following the consultation, a tailored program is made for your body using devices and supplements from the current product line.
I love the way Isetan Mirror seamlessly blend the luxury brands of Japan with other celebrated brands around the world. Activations are made experiential in a subtle way allowing the store to feel comfortable to all age groups, locals, and foreigners. Note that the global brands here are well known amongst the Japanese clientele. Items such as IPSA Aqua Reset hydrating lotion attract a loyal Chinese following. My favorite brand is Three Cosmetics, a plant based cosmetic line and I can’t wait to try Shiro’s skincare line.
If you made the shopping pilgrimage, let me know what you bought in the comments below!
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Isetan Mirror Hibiya Midtown: Chiyoda-ku Yurakuchou 1-1-2 Tokyo Midtown Hibiya 1F