Harmay Cosmetics Store – From online retailer to revolutionary shopping space


Harmay is a Chinese cosmetics firm that started out as an online retailer back in 2013. Fast forward to 8 years later and it is one of the top international brands in this segment. So successful is the brand that it has since built its own store in Xidan Cultural Plaza in Beijing, China.

Moving ahead with the times for retailers

Realizing that selling online will not be fully sustainable in the long-term future, Damien Zhong, the CEO of Harmay had in 2015 decided that a real=life shopping experience was what the younger target audience would like, the company went ahead to start its brick-and-mortar retail outlets and the results surprised many. Their sixth retail store at the underground shopping center, Xidan Cultural Plaza is testimony to the brand image it exudes, a place for cosmetics retail and design.

An underground wonder

The new retail store was designed by Shanghai-based AIM Architecture, which was also responsible for all the other Harmay stores. This outlet sits on an 880-square meter space that embodies the ‘chaos and order’ motif. Since it is an underground space, the designers went along with the idea of an apocalyptic spaceship excavated from under the soil. From the front, it is hard to imagine what to expect when one walks in.

Contrasting shades of white and black

A row of wheelbarrows and a 14-meter work table welcomes the guest when one is inside. This gives a dark and gothic, factory feel to the place. The designers installed chains and rails to further exude the factory outlook of the place. The table functions as the counter where customers get to test the products, much like a typical cosmetics shop. The other spaces are less dark where you get whiter shades of pale. Here, the brightness helps to manifest the colors of the products placed on the shelves.

How does a customer feel here?

What makes this Harmay Cosmetics Store so unique is that the customer is free to roam around and test the products to their heart’s content. The sales team would only assist if you needed them to. Otherwise, you are pretty much on your own. This is to reflect that online shopping experience that customers enjoy where they get to take their time to go through what attracts them and then proceeding to find out more.

Would this work in Malaysia?

The Harmay Cosmetics Store is a revolutionary and modern retail store housed within an underground shopping center. Such a design could work even if the mall is above ground and it would surely provide a whole new shopping experience for Malaysians. Stores like these that come with a totally different motif and design is gaining a lot of popularity in Malaysia especially when customers can take their time to browse and shop. The Instagram-worthy surroundings will be a sweet attraction for shoppers to step in too.

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