The ultimate luxury beauty destination, ARC, opens its doors in Sandton City

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The ARC store opened officially on 23 June 2021 at Sandton City, Johannesburg. (Image supplied by Styling Concepts)
The ARC store opened officially on 23 June 2021 at Sandton City, Johannesburg. (Image supplied by Styling Concepts)
  • In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic saw multiple retail store closures, while also forcing innovation for those remaining. 
  • This week, new luxury beauty destination, ARC, proudly swung open the doors to the biggest beauty-dedicated mecca in South Africa, located in the heart - and luxury wing - of Sandton City, Johannesburg.
  • The store houses the ultimate collection of global and local brands, including CHANEL, Dior, La Mer and Guerlain, and also proudly launches long-awaited cult favourites Huda Beauty, Wishful Skincare, Kayali fragrances, Beauty Blender, and Atelier Versace.  

Well, we think it's safe to say that gone are the days of paying almost double the value of a product from global cosmetics lines when you shop them in South Africa. Not to mention, shipping costs. 

Luxury beauty destination, ARC Store, joined the global ranks of Cult Beauty, Nordstrom, Sephora, and Ulta Beauty (to name just a few) when they launched their e-commerce store in April 2021.

And while over the past two or so years, many retail industry players have been closing their brick-and-mortar doors to set up cyber shelves in e-Commerce instead, ARC has adopted a different modus operandi by opening a department store just months after their online arrival. 

Also adding to the charm of this new kid on the block is the fact that the store takes the old school beauty counter approach and turns it on its head.  

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Images supplied by Styling Concepts 

While you won’t see your typical beauty consultant from the department store era, they are offering exceptional service and expertise from their team of 'Architects' (see what they did there) that include makeup artists, skin specialists and fragrance consultants, who are on hand to help you as an added support to their self-service approach.  

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Image supplied by Styling Concepts 

This new luxury store has taken an optimistic leap of launching during a pandemic. 

READ MORE: We don't have Ulta Beauty, but thanks to Woolworths we can now access virtual makeup try on services 

Marketing Executive, Kelly Fung, says; “We are thrilled to be able to bring ARC to life, despite the difficult and unpredictable circumstances of the global pandemic. ARC is truly a first of its kind in South Africa so, prepare to immerse yourself in our modern, energy-fueled and beautifully-designed store.

"From launching new and exclusive brands into the country, to offering unique interactive experiences, it truly is a beauty wonderland!”  

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Image supplied by Styling Concepts 

Perhaps then, what inspires confidence in ARC - despite the current climate - is their ability to see the ailing retail model that has dominoed several retail chains to the ground, as malleable rather than "solid beyond innovation".

So dare we even say... they're far from (arc)haic?

In this way, the brand continues to stay ahead of the curve as they are also kickstarting their sustainability mission 'Doing Beauty Better', to achieve an ambitious goal of zero waste.

ARC takes a different approach to packaging; rather than requesting customers purchase shopper bags, they’re donating R5 to local environmental organisation, Greenpop on your behalf, if you don’t take one of their locally-made, 100 percent recycled and reusable bags.  

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Image supplied by Styling Concepts 

But before we get into more shopping details, let's take a quick moment to appreciate their story:

Building a beauty ARChive: the brand story 

ARC was founded in 2020, born from the belief that the world would be a more beautiful place if we embraced uniqueness and celebrated individuality. The goal was ambitious, but simple; to create a one-of-a-kind world of discovery that was more than just a beauty destination. It is ARC’s mission to spark change.

They are modernising things and it starts with you, the customer.  

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Images supplied by Styling Concepts 

ARC is premised on the belief that "if you feel good, you’ll do good." Along with industry-leading service and innovative-thinking, this store is kickstarting a new kind of beauty conversation; one that demands transparency, insists upon inclusivity and confidently throws the rule book out of the window. 

luxury beauty
Image supplied by Styling Concepts 

Stepping inside 

The store is an impressive 500 square meters and filled to the brim with the best in luxury makeup, skincare, and fragrance. Housing the ultimate collection of global and local brands, including CHANEL, Dior, La Mer and Guerlain, it’s every beauty enthusiast's dream.

Also noteworthy are the exclusive brands, as ARC proudly launches the long-awaited Huda Beauty, Wishful Skincare and Kayali fragrances into the country as the official stockist, as well as cult favourites, Beauty Blender and Atelier Versace.   

luxury beauty

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Images supplied by Styling Concepts 

Customers can look forward to dedicated areas within the space for all their self-care needs.

Browse the extensive collection of products in The Sanctuary, which offers a welcoming space for guests to find and develop their unique skincare routine.

luxury beauty
Image: Writer's own 

The A-Beauty community might find themselves spending longer - and more - in this particular section because here, you'll find the likes of SKOON., Suki Suki, Smooch, and Lulu & Marula. 

READ MORE: The A-Beauty genre can't credit a single African culture or brand, but we can thank its foremothers

You can also book a Dermalogica face mapping session for an accurate skincare analysis or enjoy a treatment in the privacy of The Pod.

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Images supplied by Styling Concepts 

Additionally, you can get creative at The Lab - an interactive space for testing newly-launched products, expert-hosted masterclasses or perfecting a new look. 

At the store's preview a day before the official opening, I got to experience The Lab; getting my face treated to an understated Huda Beauty makeup look.

(So good that I even decided to forgo my signature red lip.)

luxury beauty
Image: Writer's own 

ARC reinforces the brand's commitment to responsibly delivering the beauty of tomorrow, today. Ultimately; at the core of the ARC brand is the championing of individuality and self-expression. And we can't wait to indulge at this beauty mecca's fully decked-out table.  

The store will be implementing health and safety measures to make sure the store is a trusted place for customers to shop as the world continues to overcome the pandemic. 

For launch week, customers can look forward to interactive brand activations, a week of surprise mystery prizes and special launch offers.  

And in other beauty retail news:

SA's CHANEL Beautiques

This year, Sandton City welcomed the second Chanel Beautique in the country.  

It comes after Chanel unveiled its new fragrance and beauty boutique - a first for South Africa - at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town in December 2020. 

Dedicated to fragrance, makeup and skincare, this boutique brings Chanel Beauty into a new dimension for South Africa, reinforcing the ties between the House and its clients.

The 61sqm space will feature the first standalone pop-up concept for South Africa, and was projected to expand to 106sqm in 2021. 

READ MORE: Chanel unveils its first-ever perfume and beauty boutique in SA at the V&A Waterfront

Zara expands their beauty space

Ealier this month, Zara announced that it is currently refurbishing and enlarging its flagship store at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town in order to make it the brand's newest concept store in South Africa, offering a fully integrated experience with www.zara.com.   

In line with Zara's commitment to South Africa, the brand is investing in this high quality, digitalised and differentiated store set to open later this year - by expanding the store to approximately 2700 square meters - to feature the latest sustainability and technological developments of its integrated store and online sales platform. The in-store Customer Experience areas will offer new convenience spaces such including a showroom and a fitting room waiting area.

Add to that, a fully fitted Beauty section similar to the likes of its retail counterparts; Woolworths, Edgars, Foschini, and Truworths. 

This new Beauty section will offer shoppers a unique immersive experience complete with personalised beauty advice.

Additional information and images provided by Styling Concepts

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