Hong Kong – It’s unlikely that the majority of those who wander into Hong Kong’s Aesop Gough Street, a recently opened glass-bricked shop from the Australian skincare company, will be newcomers to the brand. Globally, the stores, never without their fair share of foot traffic, have a reputation for their introverted, poetic design and the Gough Street location is no exception.
The design emphasises preservation of localised spatial tropes over innovation, according to March Studio, for whom this store marks 17 they’ve worked on for Aesop. The designers embraced the shape of the site, cut on a corner angle by Aberdeen Street. The interiors are restrained, deflecting from the bustling outdoors and aimed more at rejuvenating than stimulating (notably, as Aesop’s always have). Such spaces are becoming increasingly valuable to Asian consumers in retail and hospitality alike.
Other skincare retailers looking to expand or enter in Hong Kong’s market would be wise to similarly mind the context in which they introduce their brand. Especially so, bearing in mind that Hong Kong’s skincare industry is not as prominent as other Asian counterparts and has the potential to grow. The market poses certain advantages: there are no import duties on cosmetics, toiletry and skincare products, and it’s an opportune place for testing marketing campaigns and products that may go on to do well in China’s towering market. But it’s clear that Aesop Gough Street isn’t just a testing lab for China’s retail-scape, it’s also a sign of success to be had in Hong Kong.
There are nine individual stores from Aesop in the autonomous territory. The number staggers behind the 25 each Beijing and Shanghai have, but the new opening shows skincare companies should be paying careful attention to region-specific consumer needs and regarding Hong Kong’s market as a powerful player in its own right, as Aesop is doing.