The working title of one of the products in the Soho House group’s new skincare range was “Game Face”. Although the cream ended up being called “24/7 Treatment”, the moniker says a lot about what the team at Soho House aimed to deliver. And what a cohort of hard-working, hard-playing professionals expect from skincare in 2022.
“This cream is the ultimate antidote to the Soho House lifestyle,” says Aalish Yorke-Long, Managing Director of Soho House Retail. We talk over iced coffee at the group’s outpost on London’s Strand, where confident millennials hold afternoon meetings around the rooftop pool under striped umbrellas. Yorke-Long says the 24/7 treatment, which costs £72, is for when “you have to go on a work trip, you get off the plane, you feel hard but you have to be convincing in a meeting and not look exhausted, so we’ve created something that gives you an instant boost.”
I tested the treatment 24/7, and while it’s not quite license to hit the bars before a big day at work, it does help create a certain smooth, awake face, “I have this”. Like the rest of the 11-product line, it’s effective without being irritating, and I say that as someone with sensitive skin. It comes in user-friendly packaging that looks retro-millennial, with its smoked glass bottles and 70s font.
Soho Skin, the new genderless range, appeared in Soho House hotel rooms in February via a trial kit of seven “essential” products accompanied by a QR code, which users could scan to give their opinion. The range is on sale to members this month and will launch to the public in October, starting with Space NK as a UK retail partner. It will replace face products from Soho House’s existing range, Cowshed, in the bedrooms, but otherwise Cowshed body products remain the same.
But will consumers want to buy skincare from a chain of member clubs? Will the products feel authentic, or just more merchandising?
More than a few high-end hotels have begun to develop into full lifestyle brands. Il Pellicano has experimented with haute couture collaborations and offers sweatshirts at €170 and a porcelain enamel changing tray at €320, and the Ritz Paris has created a capsule with Frame denim. Emporio Sirenuse distils its Amalfi hotel aesthetic into resort wear and lifestyle pieces, collaborating with designers such as Emilia Wickstead. It helps that after more than two years of the pandemic, luxury hotels have an added aura of exoticism and the promise of fashionably expanded horizons.
June Jensen-Mills, head of UK Beauty for the NPD Group, says that as “a lifestyle brand synonymous with personal care and well-being”, a skincare line from Soho House “is the ‘perfect extension of the brand, allowing consumers to access the Soho House brand at an accessible price’.
And what about consumer appetite for skin care? According to NPD, the UK’s £228m skincare category is up 7% on the same period last year. Jensen is “optimistic” that “super premium brands” will be more resilient in the coming months, and “we expect the more affluent population buying these products to be less affected by the cost crisis of life”. Year-to-date, prestige brands’ sales growth is double that of mid-range brands, and small brands and emerging brands are growing faster than both, up 20% compared to the first half of last year.
The skincare line was designed in lockdown, while many Soho House clubs were closed, allowing the management team to analyze their offering, from drinks to spas to the range of Cowshed skin care, which is based more on aromatherapy. Yorke-Long says the members’ comments were that “they loved Cowshed and wanted to keep it, but the skincare side [as opposed to the shower and body products] didn’t take care of them as well as he should have for something they would put on their face”. One Soho House member, a music executive, said she doesn’t see Cowshed as a high-end skincare brand, and that puts her off for facials at Soho House spas.
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According to Yorke-Long, members’ concerns about complexion centered on the fact that “we had all experienced a lot of harsh skincare during lockdown, people had too much retinol and beat their skin with these really harsh actives. and wanted something that was simple”. The base formulation – dubbed Soho Skin Concentrate – contains glycogen to restore cell vitality, mastic pistachio gum to activate collagen and elastic, and lactococcal ferment lysate to improve skin barrier function. skin. The scent is minimal.
Other ideas provided go far beyond the simple texture of a moisturizer, they reflect generational changes in lifestyle. Soho House recently did some research in Los Angeles by speaking to its members under 27 who described a mixed work/life day. Yorke-Long says they “work in offices but also hang out at Soho House, and they’ll go to a meeting, then gym class, then they’ll have another meeting, then a facial. Then another meeting Then a drink. We need to regenerate the way we welcome them, for example by increasing the staff in spas during the day. It’s not like you go to work between 8 and 7 and then adapt everything stay on the edges.” Meetings, hydrate, rehearse.
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