Here’s a daunting task: Take an oil-stained auto-body shop and transform it into a tricked-out studio and boutique with an apothecary-chic vibe—a place where women can ooh and aah over the latest lip gloss and eyeliner. That was the charge for makeup magnate Bobbi Brown: Create a large loft-like studio that would also act as the first Bobbi Brown freestanding store. It needed to be a quiet space where she could find inspiration for color palettes and new product launches—and also be ideal for hosting large employee gatherings. The old body shop near her home in Montclair, New Jersey, became that perfect spot.
Recently, a few hundred employees were on hand for the annual sales meeting. Amid the din, Bobbi needed some solitude. Casual and fresh-faced in jeans, she crossed the room and with the flick of a button, a transparent garage door lowered, sealing off a chunk of what is otherwise an entirely open space into a private office cloaked in quiet.
The detail is just one of the sly winks of a space that fuels the creativity of the former makeup artist-turned-industry insider—a move she made after serendipitously meeting a chemist on a photo shoot and then creating a line of lipsticks introduced at Bergdorf Goodman in 1991.
Photographs by John Bessler
Text by Jennifer Wilson
Produced by Jenny Bradley