“It doesn’t feel forced, there’s nothing too shiny trying to grab or impress, it’s just us – how we believe it should be.”
With its reflective, orb-like Cloud Compacts, distinctive yellow accents and refreshingly candid approach to beauty, Fluff is a cosmetics brand with a difference. First opening their doors on Gertrude Street in 2018, founder Erika Geraerts, alongside Fluff’s Head of Brand Ellen Jenkinson, built the brand’s first-ever home to be “bright, bold, and rebellious”.
Four years on, and we’ve all been through a lot – a period that provided Erika and Ellen ample time to reflect on the future of Fluff. Moving away from an ‘always on’ direct-to-consumer distribution strategy to a quarterly drop model, the brand is moving into a more conscious, vulnerable new era.
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With the future looking bright, Fluff has popped up in a fresh Smith Street space. It’s older, wiser and (unsurprisingly) aesthetically beautiful, a place to facilitate discussion, build community or simply sit on the “stoop-like” stairs and daydream. Below, Erika shares the vision behind the new store, and why it’s reflective of Fluff’s journey.
Tell me a bit about how the vision for the new Fluff store came about.
This was really a serendipitous opportunity. Previously operated by Saint Francis Place, a boutique skincare retailer, the owners were moving to Byron Bay and I was purchasing one of their vintage cabinets from the store fit-out when I asked what was happening with the space.
They said it was available as a pop-up, and because the interior shell was such a beautiful, blank canvas, there wasn’t much we’d need to do or change. We had been talking about a Christmas pop-up and were feeling like the time was right to connect with our community again. This was an opportunity for us to extend our year of experimentation for the brand and set us up for 2023.
What was the process of creating the store like and were there any challenges or roadblocks along the way?
It’s been a really easy process this time around, [but] in saying this, we did pay for it to be stress-free – moving in a month early and slowly fitting out the space. Filling the enormous shelves was an interesting challenge, as we have so few products. We didn’t want it to feel not authentic or wasteful either. We wanted this space to tell the story of our brand, its evolution (aesthetically), and the things that have influenced us along the way, and provide a space for conversation, not just conversion.
Who did Fluff collaborate with on this project?
The space was previously designed by Grace Lim and Martin Kwaskowski of interior design company Milligram. [It] has been fitted out with vintage, art deco and Italian furniture pieces from my own apartment – including the rare Tatlin Sofa by Mario Canazi and Roberto Semprini for Edra, and art by Australian artists Patricia Piccinini, Douglas Bennett and Cassidy Jackson, with florals by Wildflos. We love that every furnishing and finishing has a story – there are pieces from our original store, from our travels, from our work over the years, and from friends we’ve collaborated with too.
How has Fluff’s slower approach to beauty been brought to life in the store?
It’s a really nice juxtaposition to our first store in 2018 on Gertrude Street, which represented Fluff’s beginnings: bright, bold, and rebellious in a way. Four years in, we’ve really stripped things back, letting our products speak for themselves in a much more natural environment. Our brand and retail presence have evolved in parallel, alongside our own personal growth in and outside of this industry. It doesn’t feel forced, there’s nothing too shiny trying to grab or impress, it’s just us – how we believe it should be.
What can we expect from the in-store experience?
We have several testing stations for both our makeup and skincare products, including a basin so people can really see and feel the textures and payoff of each formula. We have four staff, Harley, Sophie, Ellen and myself, all who bring a different approach and personal journey/relationship to beauty to the floor. For anyone who is thinking about changing the products they use or the way they think about beauty, Fluff would love to talk.
We have a very limited amount of Lip Oil compacts left this year, so for anyone who has been meaning to buy, or is looking for the perfect Christmas gift, this is their chance. It will also be the last chance to shop some of Fluff’s skincare and refills, of which we will be reducing our range in 2023 as part of our commitment to creating fewer, better products.
What’s your favourite feature/area of the store?
There’s such a nice, relaxed atmosphere in the space which is hard to describe. With ‘stoop’-like steps, it’s primed for casual conversation. We also love the contrast of the stripped-back interior walls and colourings with the beautiful, weighted metal makeup compacts, the more bright and brutalist art and the vintage/art deco furniture pieces.
What can you tell us about the lineup of events and panel discussions you’ll be hosting in the space?
We’ve always said beauty is more than makeup – and that we exist to discuss what the future looks like. This means several events and panel discussions including custom engraving for the Cloud Compacts, industry talks on responsibility and sustainability, writing and identity and Makeunders – our simplified version of a makeover.
At the beginning of the year, Fluff moved from an ‘always on’ direct-to-consumer distribution strategy to a quarterly drop model. It was an experiment, both personally and professionally, to which we’ll be discussing our learnings, plans, and opportunities going forward. As Fluff approaches our fifth year in business, we will discuss the idea of what conscious consumption looks like in 2023 across both products and content. It will be a casual, honest discussion for anyone interested in the business of beauty.
Find specific dates and ticketing info here, and visit the space at 63 Smith Street, Fitzroy.