Creative agency School House sets out their vision for how the beauty store can activate both customers and local communities, whilst also offering a refuge for shoppers looking to escape from reality.

At School House, we’ve spent the last few months reflecting on and researching how the events of 2020 have impacted the American beauty consumer’s mindset. We’ve found levels of anxiety and distrust spawning from the global pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement, social division, civil unrest and the decline in trust in public institutions. Below we set out the second pair in a series of four archetypes that we believe address these key emotional and behavioural drivers and the way they will reshape the beauty-retail landscape. 

Community Collective

Community Collective creates value in its relationship-building qualities. Now more than ever, there is a desire for togetherness born from our collective experiences of isolation and distress. This archetype is an extended hand to the community where it is placed, becoming a platform for micro-narratives of local identities.

The space is a manifestation of openness, transparency, accessibility and visibility. It physically sets itself behind lease lines, making room for the community on its surroundings, and extends itself through visual openness between indoors and outdoors, interior and exterior. Landscape-like, multi-levelled fixtures and platforms morph from seating areas to display surfaces, maximizing spatial utilization.

The destination is a hyper-localized retail model that reads and reacts to its surroundings' pulse and needs, bringing the community both what they need and what they want. Shared-lease kiosks are utilized as a grab and go curbside features or lent to local businesses to create slow retail and financial opportunities, supporting local offerings with a strong tie and direct integration in local communities. These kiosks can also be utilized by local justice groups, calling upon its people's support and action.


Escape represents a physical draw and motivation to return to retail, providing reasons to be present. Moments of recharge, recovery, and re-engagement support consumers as they come out of isolation and look to dampen anticipatory anxiety and fatigue levels.

The space is built on the blurred lines between realism and fantasy and celebrates beauty escapism's power in its self-expression and self-healing capacities. The biophilic design looks to reduce stress while rich, voluptuous architecture and exaggerated fixtures play with transcendent features (infinite natural terrains, endless staircases, continually flowing water) to allow the consumer to step into a reverie as they experience the space. Plants enhanced by digital projections simulate nature's natural movement, supplemented by air-filtration systems that produce a cross-breeze and germ-killing ultraviolet light.

The destination is Experience Economy 2.0, a Utopian ecosystem, emotionally connecting brands and consumers far beyond the products and convenience of services. Layered seamlessly and effortlessly with digital integration of AR and VR technologies through a mobile app, in-store experience pods and product trial stations, creating a 360, hyper-real, fantastical escape that extends from edge-to-edge of the consumer's experience.

To learn more about School House and how they’re transforming the future of beauty retail, sign up for our #FrameLive interview with founder Christopher Skinner here.