Riley Rose Wants to Change How Millennials and Gen Zers Shop for Beauty


To say that Riley Rose is a beauty-loving Millennial's playground would be a bit of an understatement. 

Upon entering the store, customers are immediately greeted by an abundance of Millennial pink, gold and marble accents coinciding with velour chairs set in front of lit vanity mirrors and interactive touchscreens. The store has been set up to usher beauty enthusiasts through the door and keep them enticed during the duration of their visit. 

Interactivity is 'In'

A customer-centric retail experience is paramount at Riley Rose. Patrons are encouraged to discover and play with products on the shelves while learning from tutorials playing on a loop via the TVs on the walls. One such tutorial showcases the top 6 masks currently on Riley Rose's shelves, while another demonstrates a bold lipstick look using nearby, in-stock products. 

One retail display centers around the 10-step Korean skincare routine and includes one-stop-shopping for the appropriate products needed to complete the ritual: oil cleanser, water cleanser, exfoliator, toner, essence, serum, sheet mask, eye cream, moisturizer and sunscreen. 

At the center of the store, customers can spend time at the interactive touch screens that are chock-full of tutorials, including "Eye Brushes Decoded," "Color Correcting 101," "How Thirsty is Your Skin?," "Set Curls Like a Pro," "How to Multi-mask" and "Hydra Makeup, What's That?"

Makeup and Skin Care and Supplements, Oh My!

One of the biggest draws of Riley Rose is that it provides brands that have a strong online presence much-needed shelf space. Brands not often found in beauty retailers' brick and mortar locations, including B. By Banila, RMS Beauty, Beauty Bakerie, Lime Crime, Nuca, Stila Cosmetics, TonyMoly, Too Cool for School, Winky Lux, Glitter Injections, Peripera, Luxie Beauty, Lemonhead.LA and Compartés, are available to Riley Rose customers. 

Funnily enough, the vitamin and beauty supplement section is located right next to the overflowing candy section. The #trendingnow display helps customers discern the must-have products of the moment, while the homeware section houses everything from candles to planners to kitchenware. 

While the wide variety of products on the shelves may seem a bit overwhelming to some, Millennial and Gen Z consumers would agree that Riley Rose is an ideal space to explore with their friends and see what products are on the shelves. 

5 Things to Know About Riley Rose 

Riley Rose co-founder, Linda Chang, spoke with Global Cosmetic Industry about the store, its target customers and the strategy behind a customer-centric shopping experience. 

Global Cosmetic Industry (GCI): Why did Forever 21 decide to launch Riley Rose?

Linda Chang (LC): Riley Rose is a lifestyle shop featuring color cosmetics, skincare, hair care and treatment, tools, home décor and accessories. My sister and I dreamt up our ideal shop where we could discover and play with new products and trends with our friends in the most inclusive store environment.
GCI: What is the strategy behind the store? Forever 21 is a leader in fast-fashion, was there a “fast-beauty” aspect behind this store? Is there an interest in fast-beauty retailers?
LC: Riley Rose is a brand carrying what the modern girl craves for a trendy lifestyle. This includes cult beauty brands that have made a name for themselves online, such as Lime Crime, Lemonhead.LA, and Lipland, as well as brands not available in U.S. brick and mortar stores, such as Korean skincare brands B.By Banila, Dearpacker, and Nuca. Our major point of difference from other retailers is that we let her shop a complete lifestyle: our home assortment makes up one-third of the store and includes everything from pillows and décor to succulents and tech accessories. We’ve also focused special attention on the food & beverage category, which will include unique snacks from around the world, and fine confectionaries like Compartés and Amborella Organics.

GCI: Who are the target consumers? Are they the same as Forever 21? What products and services do they want from Riley Rose?
LC: We have created Riley Rose to appeal to the Millennial and Gen Z customer who follows trends and likes to curate her personal brand through beauty and lifestyle products. She is hungry to be first to embrace budding trends, and wants access to of-the-moment products she sees on social media at the pace of a snap.
GCI: Is there anything unique about this store? Are there any omnichannel features?

LC: Our stores will offer the customer an experience she can’t find in retailers today, that was born out of our own observations and frustrations as shoppers. The entire store experience is built around how the Millennial and Gen Z demo shop, from digital touch screens displaying multi-branded looks as she would view them within her social media world to a playful selfie wall. We know our customer can open her phone and research anything she sees in our store within seconds, and we embrace this reality by empowering her to explore our offerings through digital and social moments throughout the store. Our in-store marketing will feature authentic, real-girl product reviews, with the intent to teach the customer how she can use our products or why they’re trending, rather than to tell her what to buy.

GCI: Are there any unique or popular brands? Products?
LC: Our offerings range from $1.90 - $189.00, as we will carry everything from single-use sheet masks to more luxe gift sets and bundles. 
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