Thursday, 9 December 2010

Malin + Goetz at St Martin's Lane Hotel

Disclosure - goody bags/samples were distributed at this event

Inside the St Martin's Lane Hotel pop-up shop
Matthew Malin and Andrew Goetz, eponymous founders of the Malin + Goetz brand, are currently visiting the UK and have set up a pop-up shop at the St Martin's Lane Hotel. I went along on Monday to meet them and explore the Malin + Goetz range up close.

Malin + Goetz is a brand that's well-known for its design-led unisex appeal, and for products that are pared-down, stylish and highly effective. You may have seen the distinctive white packaging, with its strong, simple typography and colours, beckoning you from beauty spreads in magazines and newspaper supplements.

The brand is decidedly niche, but has been expanding rapidly in the UK over the last year thanks to a winning combination of style and substance. It's currently available at Liberty and online at Zuneta, and has just been introduced nationally at Space NK. International exposure is set to increase too, with a new contract supplying amenities for the Morgan Hotel Group. ("Amenities" meaning those little complimentary bottles of goodness you find in your hotel bathroom.)

The Malin + Goetz story is one of passion and individuality. The brand arose from the unique combination of Andrew Goetz' design and marketing background (he has a long career in the design industry) and Matthew Malin's beauty industry experience as a buyer for New York department store Barney's. The two fixed on their idea, took a leap of faith, and began their journey with a store in New York's Chelsea district, where they sold their products to local shoppers.

From these hands-on beginnings, they developed a sense of their brand as an apothecary service. Customers arrive with specific needs or concerns, and are provided with specific, effective solutions. At first over the counter in the store, and with time, nationally, internationally and online.

There's a sense of sea-change about Malin + Goetz, a backlash against over-marketed and over-complicated regimes and product concepts. Malin + Goetz maintain that for women in particular, skincare concerns are often self-perpetuating - we blitz our skin, overloading it with too many products, and it reacts by becoming sensitised and problematic.

The Malin + Goetz range is, in response, relatively simple (although it has now increased to nearly 50 products - not all of them skincare). For example, the brand only offers one cleanser, one treatment mask and one moisturiser. This seems surprisingly limited. However, Andrew told me these are a "toolkit" for customers to use, rather than a prescriptive regime. Skin's needs vary according to the time of year, lifestyle and other factors, so the products can be used in different ways - for example, a hydrating face mask following a flight, or serum in place of moisturiser on a muggy summer's day.

In addition to the skincare line, there's a delectable fragrance range including some very covetable scented candles, plus some luxuriously perfumed hair-care. A mother & baby range is upcoming too.

Find Malin+Goetz at Space NK, Zuneta and Liberty, or if you're in London visit the pop-up shop to buy directly from the guys themselves. It's a short walk from Leicester Square and is open until the end of the year.

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