“Quality Over Quantity”: The Detox Market Opens Its Biggest Store Yet In Toronto As It Carefully Expands Locations
The Detox Market has elevated its presence in Toronto with a new flagship that speaks to its progress in Canada’s most populous city.
When the green beauty retailer headed north from Los Angeles seven years ago in partnership with naturopathic doctor Bita Doagoo to pop up on King Street West in downtown Toronto, it was only expected to stay for four months. Instead, it remained for four years at the pop-up spot until it moved across the street to a permanent store that’s now been replaced by the emporium showcasing 90 brands on nearby Spadina Avenue.
“It’s not just a store. It’s a true flagship,” says Romain Gaillard, founder and CEO of The Detox Market, of the 2,200-square-foot outpost. “It’s the biggest Detox Market, and it’s also the biggest clean beauty store anywhere. I’m very happy because we have the space to express our identity and create events. It’s a big upgrade.”
The flagship, which was designed by Toronto firm Suulin Architects, joins six other The Detox Market units in Canada and the U.S. along with five installations at Café Gratitude eateries in Southern California. It features a large marble table that can seat 20 people for community get-togethers and a sizable custom-made stainless sink rimmed with wood to encourage product testing.
The store is situated in a bustling district filled with residential developments, offices, stores and restaurants that Gaillard points out has changed dramatically since The Detox Market arrived. Skyscrapers have been erected, and young professionals interested in healthy lifestyles have flocked to the dense urban environment.
“It’s the biggest Detox Market, and it’s also the biggest clean beauty store anywhere. I’m very happy because we have the space to express our identity and create events. It’s a big upgrade.”
“If you go to the area, you almost feel as if you’re in Shanghai,” says Gaillard, elaborating about The Detox Market’s local clientele, “Canadians are generally very healthy. At The Detox Market over there, we have a lot of naturopathic doctors and students on staff. They’re passionate about green beauty and working with The Detox Market. Their level of knowledge is insane. I feel Canadians are very knowledgeable when it comes to plant medicine and green beauty.”
Canada is fertile ground for natural beauty companies. Brands such as Province Apothecary, Schaf, Graydon Skincare, Bathorium and Wildcraft make up the domestic contingent inside The Detox Market’s three Canadian stores. Bestselling brands from outside of Canada include RMS Beauty, Goop, Tata Harper and Odacité.
Gaillard figures The Detox Market is being pitched at least two brands daily aiming to enter its assortment, but he’s not impressed by much of what he encounters. “Everything seems to be clean beauty today. I define green beauty as clean beauty plus passion, and that’s why we’ve always defined ourselves as a green beauty retailer,” he says. “It’s not just about leaving out ingredients. It’s about spending a crazy amount of time picking the ingredients you are using. What makes the brand unique, and how do the founders understand and talk about their formulations? That’s where we lose a lot of people.”
At the Toronto flagship, Gaillard projects sales will likely outpace the store it supplanted by 50% to 60% in the first year. Overall, he foresees The Detox Market’s revenues climbing almost 100% this year. The retailer is on track to open two additional locations in 2019. The Detox Market isn’t presently pursuing external funding to construct stores.
“It’s not just about leaving out ingredients. It’s about spending a crazy amount of time picking the ingredients you are using. What makes the brand unique, and how do the founders understand and talk about their formulations? That’s where we lose a lot of people.”
Gaillard explains it has three expansion strategies: clustering stores in existing markets, stretching to cities beyond existing markets that embrace green beauty, and branching abroad. Asian and European cities are being evaluated for stores. The Detox Market has three different store sizes it can open. Stores ranging from 200 to 400 square feet are planted in highly-trafficked mall and transportation destinations; stores averaging around 1,000 square feet are neighborhood hubs; and flagships start at roughly 2,000 square feet.
While it remains bullish on physical stores, The Detox Market’s e-commerce component surpassed its brick-and-mortar business last year. The retailer has built an in-house brand that it sells both online and in stores. Called Detox Mode, the brand began with $32 body-care product Altogether Oil in 2018. Next month and in May, further products will join Altogether Oil in Detox Mode’s selection. On top of Detox Mode’s extensions, The Detox Market’s website is scheduled to undergo a revamp by March or April.
“We only have seven stores, but our online reach is huge,” says Gaillard. “We increased our online advertising last year, but that hasn’t been the biggest driver of sales. Most of our growth comes from our current base of clients.”
Detox Mode’s upcoming products and The Detox Market’s website renovation are taking a bit longer than anticipated to finalize, but Gaillard stresses getting them right is more important than finishing them quickly. “I have always felt the world doesn’t need a new product. It doesn’t need a new store. It doesn’t need a new website. We value quality over quantity,” says Gaillard. “In Toronto, the design identity is very strong. When you come in, you understand that there is a level of care and thought that’s not done everywhere.”