Sephora Case Study

Topics: Brand, Retailing, Department store Pages: 10 (3012 words) Published: August 28, 2012
A Brand Case Study
Nikki Kerber PBDS 705 • November 21, 2011

Nikki Kerber • PBDS 705 • The Design/Business Link


History of SEPHORA: The Foundations of Modern Design

Founded in late 1969 as Shop 8, Dominique Mondonnaud opened a speciality

perfumery retail store in Franceʼs Haute Vienne region that was revolutionary for its time due to the way the store was operated and designed (”Sephora holdings s.a,” 2011, p. 1). While department stores heavily relied on the tried and true commission-based model to sell perfume and essential perfume oils, Dominique Mondonnaud set out to create an innovative and unique way to sell perfume and cologne. In 1979, Mondonnaud created a cutting-edge retail model that dramatically changed the way customers shopped. Marketed and designed as a self-service retail model, Shop 8 featured a large and open floor plan in order for customers to roam the store and touch, feel, and try all products. (”Sephora holdings s.a,” 2011, p. 2) This self-service retail model was revolutionary because, even today, most department stores place products out of reach of potential buyers, within glass cases, making the selling process less streamlined and frustrating for some individuals. Another way Mondonnaud upgraded the traditional selling process of perfume was by grouping products and brands in unique ways. For example, not only did Shop 8 offer a more extensive perfume line than any other department store in 1979, but products were grouped by perfume notes and scents, rather than just by brand. (”Sephora holdings s.a,” 2011, p. 2) Interestingly enough, most department stores today primarily still group fragrances only by brand. With the success of the new business

Nikki Kerber • PBDS 705 • The Design/Business Link


model, “Mondonnaud had opened a total of four Shop 8 stores” by 1984 (”Sephora holdings s.a,” 2011, p. 2). Although Shop 8 was successful with how it marketed and sold products,

Dominique Mondonnaud faced financial problems due to his over enthusiasm to expand the store in new regions of France. As a result, on Mondonnaudʼs 50th birthday in 1993 he decided to retire and by 1997 all Shop 8 stores were sold to one of the most prestigious luxury goods group in the world, Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH). After LVMH took ownership of Sephora, which was rebranded in September 1993 by another group, they had acquired approximately 129 stores and continued Mondonnaudʼs unique selling vision by adding additional elements to each retail store and the overall brand. (”Sephora holdings s.a,” 2011, p. 3-4). Primarily, LVMH expanded its product base to include cosmetics and, “By end of 1997, Sephoraʼs sales had already topped the FRF 2 billion [mark]” (”Sephora holdings s.a,” 2011, p. 4). Additionally, LVMH expanded into new territory such as Spain, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Czech Republic. Moreover, the first United States flagship store was opened in New York City in 1998. Finally, the LVMH group created a private label product brand under the Sephora name and to this day includes accessories, skin care, hair care, and makeup products, including their most coveted anti-wrinkle cream StriVectin-SD which is an international award wining skin care product (”Sephora holdings s.a,” 2011, p. 4-5). According to Sephoraʼs website, “Sephora is highly regarded as a beauty

trailblazer, thanks to its unparalleled assortment of prestige products, unbiased service from experts, interactive shopping environment, and innovation” (“About Sephora,” 2011). Where it was once a dream to break away from the traditional retail model, Sephora dominates the beauty industry thanks to its self-service model that sells a wide

Nikki Kerber • PBDS 705 • The Design/Business Link


range of products to women and men between the ages of 15 and 70 (”Sephora: Liberating beauty,” 2006). Now in its peak, Sephora is the leading retail chain of beauty products. Here is a snap...
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