“I remember when you could only buy makeup from a drugstore,” says Marla Malcolm Beck. “How do you find the right lipstick? It’s very complicated.”
Beck and her husband Barry founded Bluemercury in 1999 as a “friendly, neighborhood” luxury cosmetics and skincare retailer. Now they've opened their first location in Houston inside Macy's at Memorial City Mall. One of four prototype shop-in-shops inside the department store (the other three are in California), the Bluemercury counter is a beckoning island surrounded by a sea of enticing, product-laden shelves.
Macy’s acquired Bluemercury in 2015 to compete with Sephora, offering prestige brands including La Mér, SKII, Bumble and Bumble, Trish McEvoy, Bobbi Brown, Laura Mercier, NARS, Clinique, Estee Lauder, Deborah Lippmann and Yves Saint Laurent in an inviting space manned by beauty experts.
“We want to offer our customers exclusivity while also providing the products they love,” says Jennifer Brooks, Bluemercury's La Mer expert.
At the grand opening, Marla Beck and a few of the brand ambassadors explained how they handpicked some of the products on the shelves for the local market. La Mer’s Moisturizing Gel Cream ($310), for example, is touted as the perfect lightweight moisturizer for Houston heat, providing a cool sensation when applied, while Bumble and Bumble’s Bb.curl Defining Creme ($15) helps curly locks stand up to the humidity.
“We think global but we act local,” Barry Beck said. “In a few months the merchandise might change.”
In addition to curating other premium beauty brands, Bluemercury also exclusively offers two of Marla Beck's own lines. Beck launched M-61 as a concentrated technical skincare brand free of parabens, dyes, sulfates and animal testing, based on Bluemercury's experience performing 100,000 spa treatments annually. The vitamin-packed, vegan-friendly Lune +Aster line is designed for the girl on the go, with quick, easy applications. The lipglosses are as colorful as they are healthy, with awesome names: Soccer Mom, CEO, and Editor-in-Chief, to name a few.
If all of this sounds like beauty product heaven, get ready: This friendly neighborhood luxury cosmetics store is heading to even more local neighborhoods soon. The Becks have announced a second Houston location in Rice Village, opening soon.