click image to zoomDuring the Salon Roux retail event, Sean OMara, founder of Royal Apothic, custom blends a fragrance for a client. Photo by Lindsey Gomes. Close to half of Salon Roux’s space is dedicated to its bustling retail boutique, and that’s exactly how owner Jacque Leonard designed it. With her own roots in sales as a former Sebastian account executive, she frequently designs tantalizing retail displays and plans engaging client events.
Recently, Leonard searched for a personal and home fragrance line to compliment her hair care, skincare, clothing and jewelry offerings for the salon based in Paso Robles, California. While the central coast town boasts more than 200 wineries, dozens of farm-to-table restaurants, and a steady stream of tourists, there’s not a traditional shopping mall for 100 miles. “We really saw an opportunity to carry quality fragrances, and thought they would be successful with our clientele.”
Leonard started investigating, and was intrigued by Royal Apothic, a line she found at an Anthropologie store when she was out of town. She perused the company’s website, emailed the general mailbox and asked if they would consider letting a salon carry the line. “Before I knew it, I received an email back that read, ‘Is this THE Jacque Leonard from Sebastian International?' I had no idea that the company I had been investigating was founded by a friend and former Sebastian colleague of mine that I had lost touch with!”
While Leonard left Sebastian to pursue salon ownership, fellow account executive Sean O’Mara continued to grow in the ranks at P&G, eventually nurturing brands like Sebastian, Wella and Trucco Makeup, before making his way over to Murad Global Skincare. Throughout his professional beauty career, he simultaneously pursued a passion as a designer, infusing glamour into lackluster spaces in Los Angeles and in London. On a trip to London in 2009, O’Mara’s fate took a turn when he discovered a centuries-old apothecary manual on the top shelf of a book stall in Notting Hill. The book sparked an idea that eventually transformed into the Royal Apothic line.
“I wanted to create a product so beautiful, you just have to leave it out on display,” O’Mara says. “And a formula so decadent you just have to use it.”
Leonard and O’Mara not only got reacquainted after the email exchange, but Leonard signed on to carry the line, and the two began planning a retail release event that coincided with Leonard’s regularly scheduled third Thursday retail events that offer clients exclusive retail opportunities in a fun, day-long party atmosphere. O’Mara agreed to make an appearance at the event, educating guests about the Royal Apothic line, interviewing them about their own personal preferences and customizing their purchases with selections from his collection of fragrance notes.
The night before, Leonard and Cory Bauer, Salon Roux’s salon and spa creative director, worked to create beautiful retail displays with the line’s perfumes, parfumes, candles, room sprays, hand crèmes, soaps and lotions. Befitting the occasion, they brought in champagne and French macarons. “The event was a fun surprise for our guests and a huge hit,” says Leonard, who says the salon did about $5,000 in retail sales the day of the event. “Clients were impressed that the owner of line was here to help kick it off, and loved having him custom-blend their fragrances.”
In the weeks since, Leonard says the line has been a welcome addition. “We’ve found that having a fragrance line is a great way to draw guests into our retail and engage them by creating an individual experience when they sample something.”