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July 18, 2007

A Rare Import

A Stately Affair: Space.NK's U.S. flagship sits on historic Greene Street in New York's trendy SoHo neighborhood.

By Nandita Khanna

As a student studying abroad at University of Oxford in England to my delight I found that small, inexpensive pleasures abound: a pain au chocolat at the patisserie on High Street, an afternoon spent perusing the books at Blackwell's, and watching students perform Shakespeare on the Thames. It wasn't until I traveled into London that I discovered small pleasures could be found there too--only there it's for a costly sum given the current exchange rate. It was then that I came across Space.NK.apothohecary in Covent Garden, and quickly became hooked on high-end beauty products and the store's eponymou--and affordable--beauty line. What struck me about Space.NK was that I wasn't finding run-of-the-mill beauty lines that I'd find at say, Sephora, but I was finding special, more boutique-y feeling lines that weren't on every girl's vanity. The great thing was that the lines carried here were quite diverse--there's everything from Acqua di Parma to Laura Mercier and exclusive lines like SheerinO'kho and Eve Lom.

Space.NK's founder, Nicky Kinnaird (who I'm proud to say, shares my initials), believes that beauty is a natural extension of fashion, and in her first atelier in Covent Garden helped garner attention for the likes of Anya Hindmarch and other up-and-coming Brit designers. Kinnaird believes that there isn't one particular brand that does everything perfectly (a rather sensible approach, if you ask me), but rather, plenty of different brands that do a few things very well. With that very mindset, Kinnaird launched her own eponymous line Space.NK, which now includes fragrance, aromatherapy, thalassotherapy, and even beauty tools (like a genius eyelash curler, but more on that later). Plus, there's several great travel sets including the "Fragrant Traveler" that comes in scents like Compelling (inspired by Kinnaird's trips to Morocco) and Soulful (influenced by her trip to a Japanese hot spring 1-1/2 hours outside of Tokyo).

Much to my delight Kinnaird opened her first US location here in New York in SoHo--giving faithful Space.NK habitues like myself a new place to play. Because isn't that what apothecaries are all about? Spritzing and sampling to your heart is content? I like to think so. Here, Belfast-born Kinnaird, a frequent flier and constant globetrotter talk to us about her new store opening and some of her travel tips (and discoveries).

Hope in a Jar: SheerinO'kho--simply one of my
favorite new finds (and Nicky's too)

Why did you select New York for your first location here in the US?
New York was a logical entry point when we were ready to open in the US, given that it is a shopping destination the world over. The flagship's location is 99 Greene Street in a landmark building district in Soho. We chose it because the area is quite similar to that of the Covent Garden location...where it all began. By the end of 2007, we plan to open four more locations in the tri-state area and expand across the country, shortly thereafter.

How does Space.NK. differentiate itself from some of the other more mass market beauty stores like Sephora, or even the high-end department stores like Bergdorfs and Bendels?
Space NK is known for an unprecidented assortment of exclusive products and we offer an edited and hand-picked selection of merchandise from innovators within their respective industries and categories--not to mention, an authentic European sensibility. It is important that we present the consumer with "worthy" newness and not just newness for newness sake.

No doubt having stores all over the UK has you zigzagging all over the place. How does your busy travel schedule impact the way that you pack?
Coordination is critical and accessories are a must! My schedule is often filled back to back with meetings so I need to be able to change a single look from day into evening. I have mastered the "mix and match," and often pair key Marni and Dries Van Noten pieces from my closet.

What are your favorite products that allow you to step off the plane looking refreshed?
I will absolutely not leave home without my favorite products…we offer a travel set (empty bottles to decant shampoos and face creams) and created miniature sizes of all of our Space NK bath & body products and candles for this reason - they are so easy to stow in your carry on! Before travel - I make sure that all makeup is removed and apply SheerinO'kho First Class Flight face cream to clean, dry skin. Also I wont do without the Tracie Martyn LotuSculpt QuickFix Pads and Activator. While in-flight, I apply Eve Lom Creme Universal to any dry patches of skin and especially on my hands--it is an ideal time for an intensive hand treatment. To stay hydrated, I drink as much water as possible and avoid alcohol, caffeine, and salty foods. And just before landing I enjoy a cup of green tea and apply natural makeup. Some of my favorites include: By Terry Light Expert (provides instant health and radiance to the complexion), Chantecaille Real skin Foundation with SPF 30, Nars multiple in South Beach and Eyeshadow duo in Madrague (lining the eyes with the darker of the two shades) and a couple coats of By Terry Black Mascara, and By Terry Baume De Rose on lips.

 Are there any specific product lines that you discovered on your travels that you loved so much that you either 1)buy them in bulk now when you visit a place or, 2) inspired you to integrate them into your own line?
My travels have been a source of inspiration and that is why I created the Space NK Bath and Body collection. I was inspired to create the Spa NK Thalassotherapy range after visiting the marine institutes at St. Malo and Queberon in Brittany, France. I tracked down the chemist to help me formulate the line that's exclusive to the store.I am always looking for new and innovative items and have been very fortunate to come across items I felt were worthy to bring back and share with the Space NK customer like the Space NK body wash Cloth, incense sticks, and the eyelash curler, discovered in a small factory in Japan. My "finds" include Christophe Robin Creme Lavonte au Citron and the hard-to-find Diptyque Candle scents.

Where was the last place you visited?
New York City for the US launch of Space NK.

Where will your next trip take you?
A holiday in Parot Cay or Capri.



Lovely interview and what a fab brand Space Nk is... so please we have it stateside now! www.spacenk.com

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