Men’s Brand Maapilim Pops Up In A Chic Manhattan Showcase For Its Haircare And Skincare
Maapilim is experimenting with its own retail by popping up in New York.
The Tel Aviv-based stylish men’s brand’s temporary 350-square-foot Nolita location on Elizabeth Street puts its haircare and skincare in front of shoppers in a city where it’s seen high customer conversion rates and lifetime values online. The pop-up comes as Maapilim is doubling down on its direct-to-consumer business.
“We have been focusing more and more on DTC and, when we are selling online, creating conversations with consumers is hard,” says Maapilim founder Jonathan Keren. “Physically meeting up with people and seeing what they like and don’t like creates amazing insight, and that’s really tough do online. We do it with focus groups and meet-ups with users, but we felt that the store would be a great opportunity to do that for a whole month.”
Due to close on April 28, Maapilim’s fleeting store housed in a space offered by short-term lease specialist Parasol Projects is meant to be a serene oasis in a bustling metropolis. The brand began working on it two months ago and buildout took two days. Maapilim teamed up with Pop Up Mob, a firm that has fashioned concepts from Pop & Suki, Jose Cuervo, Mugler, Alexis Bittar and Revolve, to execute the pop-up and design studio Craft and Bloom to hone its look. Adaptive audio system Endel provides a soothing soundscape to set the mood.
“Most stores you walk into, you buy and you go. For us, it’s about sitting down and having a conversation. We give out water and coffee, and invite you to take a deep breath.”
Maapilim’s dark bottles stand out in the stark store, which draws inspiration from Greek rooftop gardens and is bathed in off-white from ceiling to floor. There’s a sink and seating area on one side running the length of the narrow store. On that side and its opposing side, products are displayed in a line. The pop-up is filled with the calming scent of grapefruit, mandarin orange, black pepper and bergamot. Customers can book 30-minute sessions with experts at the store to find the right products for them.
“Most stores you walk into, you buy and you go. For us, it’s about sitting down and having a conversation. We give out water and coffee, and invite you to take a deep breath. We have been getting an amazing response. People that walk into the store really get it,” says Keren, adding, “We really believe that beauty isn’t just about the ingredients and the products. It is about taking some of the stress out of life, spending time with people that you care about and doing what you love.”
A passion of Keren’s is art that comments on masculinity, societal norms, wellness and beauty, and he weaves it into his brand. In 2016, a year after Maapilim hit the market, it unveiled an art show called “Flowers Are Manly” featuring images of a dozen men interacting with plants and flowers that was covered by around 250 art blogs. Now, the brand is establishing a content platform called Sand with a podcast and digital magazine that could branch out to a print publication. Art exhibitions and gatherings are possibilities, too.
“We really believe that beauty isn’t just about the ingredients and the products. It is about taking some of the stress out of life, spending time with people that you care about and doing what you love.”
Maapilim’s minimalistic products are an aesthetic antidote to hyper-masculine grooming merchandise. The brand started with Beard Oil and has expanded to roughly 30 products priced largely from $10 to $40 featuring natural oils and extracts from the Mediterrean, including bestsellers Pomade, Face Cleanser and Hair Cream. Once customers buy from Maapilim, Keren says they return and enlarge their orders across its haircare and skincare assortment. Last year, the brand raised $4 million and, at the time, reported sales were doubling monthly and on pace to reach $3.5 million to $5 million this year.
Although Maapilim is concentrating on DTC, it’s available through Goop, Neiman Marcus, Birchbox, Bespoke Post and Ipsy. “We are just not trying to grow the wholesale area. Working with the big players takes a lot of effort and focus. It can mean a lot of money, but you have to have a team that handles that because, if you don’t do it right, you will lose a lot of money,” says Keren. “Our team has seven people and, with a small team, you have to make tough choices about what to focus on.” Maapilim recently added Yifat Ryce, formerly a brand manager at Procter & Gamble, and Elinor Kalina, previously creative director at Wix, to its team as COO and CMO, respectively.
If sales at Maapilim’s pop-up are strong, the brand may consider a permanent retail location. At the moment, however, Keren indicates gathering data and connecting with potential partners are key priorities of the pop-up. He says, “Once this is over, we can go back and see how everything did, and have a big discussion about what is in our future. Is it more stores? Is it more community events? I don’t know. We will have to see.”