Innovation That Matters

Upscale vending machine sells curated luxury goods


We’ve written about ‘curated consumption’ on several occasions before, including such contenders as Ranking, Ranqueen and Stack. A new entrant in the area recently caught our eye, however, not least because its hand-picked offerings are sold through an upscale vending machine. U*tique bills itself as the world’s first interactive, automated luxury store for “life’s little emergencies and indulgences.” Currently debuting at Los Angeles retailer Fred Segal, U*tique lets consumers learn about select luxury and personal-care products and have them conveniently dispensed to them with a swipe of the credit card. Only 50 products are available at any given time, and all have been handpicked by product specialists with backgrounds in global beauty, trend-hunting and innovation. Customers wanting to learn more about any of them can use U*tique to access ingredient lists, try samples or watch short videos for product explanations and demonstrations. The technology features an original touch-screen interface, interactive LED lighting design, and a behind-the-scenes robot that delivers products from secure storage into consumers’ hands. Design help for U*tique came from Russell Greenberg, director of NYC-based studio RUX. Current brand partners, meanwhile, include industry icons Lancome, Bliss, C.O. Bigelow, Lancaster and Vosges Haut Chocolat, as well as rising stars such as Hourglass Cosmetics, David Kirsch Wellness, Lipstick Queen and Ketty Sean. U*tique CEO Mara Segal explains: “I wanted to help simplify the shopping experience for customers. Our store is like an interactive gallery, each item is hand selected and celebrated. Consumers can experience that wonderful kid-in-candy-store feeling—their eye is delighted, their desires are met, the only difficult part is choosing which treat to buy.” Segal hopes to install more U*tique automated stores in upscale nightclubs, hotel lobbies, locker rooms, shopping malls and airports over the next two years, according to a report in Trendhunter. One to get in on early….? (Related: Vending machine dispenses free samples.) Spotted by: Trendhunter via Raymond Kollau



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