Reaching for the Stars



With 37 locations found throughout the U.S., Bluemercury is one of the nation’s fastest growing spa and beauty products retailers. The friendly neighborhood stores offer a large selection of luxury cosmetics and innovative skincare products from more than 100 brands, such as Bobbi Brown, Darphin, Dermalogica, Jo Malone, La Prairie, and SkinCeuticals. The first Bluemercury opened in Georgetown in Washington, D.C., in 1999. Since then, the company has expanded with 36 more locations. This year, stores debuted in New Canaan, CT; Arlington, VA; and most recently, New York City’s Union Square. In addition to offering an extensive retail selection, most of the locations also include at least two spa treatment rooms and a menu of results-oriented treatments, such as oxygen facials, glycolic peels, microdermabrasion, makeup application, waxing, and more. “In 2011, we provided almost 100,000 spa treatments, while our staff of 300 estheticians and makeup artists consulted with more than five million clients,” says Bluemercury co-founder Marla Malcolm Beck. The company also boasts a 10,000-square-foot resort spa at The Quarter at Tropicana Casino and Resort in Atlantic City, NJ. Here, Beck reveals how Bluemercury manages to stay ahead of the curve.


How has Bluemercury continued to succeed in these trying times?

A. I really think that innovation rules. Because we deliver a new, creative, and innovative experience, we have been fortunate to see growth. Our model is a perfect blend of expert spa services, smart skincare, makeup tips and tricks, and the most sought-after hand-picked products from around the world. Nobody else is doing what we’re doing at the level we are doing it. When you do something different, clients find you. Now we are entering the next phase of innovation by launching our own skincare line, M61. We saw a gap in the market that we are filling. M61 fuses dermatologist-loved skincare ingredients with proven, researched natural ingredients. It is paraben-free, phthalate-free, sulfate-free, fragrance-free, and dermatologist-tested. One of my favorite products, a vitamin C facial exfoliant/mask with red seaweed, Fast Blast, is named after a 30-minute facial that was designed for me because I wouldn’t sit still for an hour.  


Why do you think the spa has been able to succeed where others have failed?

A. Our model of convenient access to technical expert services in neighborhood store environments makes it really easy for our clients to come in for services. We have also taken a page from the restaurant business by offering creative seasonal facials. We just did an event with Bliss called Fabulips where clients could add a lip treatment with Bliss products to a facial. In May, we offered the Peace, Power, and Glow Facial, a 30-minute high-impact, minimal-time facial using M61 products.  


How do you attract new and repeat clients and encourage them to visit?

A. They come in for discovery and advice. Our clients know that we add about 100 new items to our product offerings every month. They come in to see what’s new and what is hot. They also come to us if they have a problem they need solving. Right now, everyone is looking for the perfect sunscreen, self-tanner, and bronzer. We excel in helping clients find a solution to their problems and challenges.


How do you use digital marketing and social media to boost business?

A. Our internet site, blogs, Facebook, and emails are key to keeping our clients engaged and excited. They want to hear about what really works and how and when to use products.  


What steps and cost-cutting measures did you employ to offset the recession?

A. We touched nothing that touches the customers. We kept our same staffing levels. In fact, the longevity of our staff is one of our key advantages. We have estheticians who have been with us for 13 years, since our founding. As everyone else cut, we won clients from other spas and retailers.


What have you learned from surviving the recent recession, and how do you plan to incorporate those lessons in the future?

A. We believe that if you keep focused on client service, innovation, and what’s next, you win.