I was saying earlier that my other goal -- after Scoop -- was to be in Space.NK. In the UK -- the prestige chain originated in London -- it is "the" place to go for beauty. Sophisticated, white, gleaming, modern, the store is a jewel box of faceted brands -- and only about 60 well-edited ones.
The store was making a play for the US and opened two NYC stores and two outside of the city. Then there was their store-within-a-store deal with Bloomie's. A friend of mine knew the founder, a very inspiring woman whose initials are (go figure) NK, and introduced us in an email.
I heard back from team NK. They asked to meet...in London.
As luck would have it, Todd and I were going on vacay across the pond. We booked the trip the year before to see an artist's friend opening in a Soho gallery. We hadn't been on a trip since our honeymoon and desperately needed the getaway, even if our accountant didn't agree!
I didn't have a formal presentation to show. With Scoop, it was okay because I knew Stefani (and the girls there) well. But for Space, I needed to impress. I called JD (my designer) in a panic. "Can't schlep it in a Bendel's shopping bag!" But I was leaving in three days and there was no time.
I scoured my closet and came across an amazing evening bag that came in a hard, quilted white box, fortuitously just larger than the room for five glosses -- and the box -- with the addition of purple tissue paper. To the top of the box, I glued my business card which happened to be thick white with purple metallic writing. Kind of perfect! Whew.
Though jet lagged on my first day in the UK, I donned a purple Lanvin dress for the big meeting (I could write that off, right?) with the buyers, who were quite sweet and taken with the gloss. "We don't have anything like this," they said. It was true. Their merch was very luxe but very safe.
This would be a departure from the store, who seems to carry all things white. It was purple. It stood out. It was humorous. I wanted to bring in a pole for the color Kitty Poledancer (I know that scared the hell out of them).
They told me if they took us, they'd want an exclusive for six months in the U.S. Uh oh. "I'm already signed on with Scoop," I muttered under my breath, almost hoping they didn't hear. But their eyes lit up (if Scoop liked it, it had to be good!). They said they'd get back to me in a few weeks (this after trying on -- and raving about -- the gloss. "It doesn't stick to your hair. It doesn't sting! It smells incredible!").
Then I got the email. It took me two days to open it because I was afraid of rejection. But I got in! It was the best feeling ever, like getting into your reach school!
There was much back-and-forth paperwork over an iron-clad agreement with a lot of words like "herein" and legalese I needed my lawyer brother to translate. (Scoop was nothing like this -- It was like a serious real estate transaction.)
Once signed, I received a 5-inch thick dossier...their shipping requirements. It was full of details on how things needed to be shrink wrapped on a palette and labeled a certain way. And getting the product to London, where there would be an 18 month exclusive, was so overwhelming, I actually cried. I needed a European address, compliancy for the EU (that, I learned, is a whole other thing), a 100-page "product information packet," a forwarder to pick up the goods at customs and bring to their distribution center after making an appointment that fit into a few hour window. WTF!?! The list was endless. If I tripped up on one thing, I'd be charged. God, shipping incorrectly could mean owing them money even after they buy product!
That is when Todd came in! I could no longer manage this alone.
There is a ton more to say about this -- my husband transitioning careers, working with him, running out of money, manufacturing issues you can't imagine, I could go on. And I will. Next week...when I'll finally get back to PR and some brutal mistakes we made along the way!
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