I grew up as a teenager lusting after the beauty wonderland that is Sephora. When the first shop opened up in downtown Vancouver, I watched on the news as people lined up down the street and around the corner to get their hands on exclusive brands. Fast forward to last year when I somehow shopped my way to VIB Rouge status and it felt like a life secret life achievement. Like breaking the high score on that video game or flying first class on the plane, I was giddy at the chance to finally be part of the elusive top tier but how did having this badge of beauty honour really pan out in my very regular everyday life?
Last week, as part of my VIB Rouge perks, I lined up with my plus one friend at 8:30am to attend an “exclusive Charlotte Tilbury launch and holiday shopping” event. You know, the ones you had to sign up for online and be checked off of a list at the door. I had been quite excited to see Sephora adding the big name to their site (hey, the more points the merrier) but upon walking through the door we were disappointed to find only about 5 items for sale and no testers. Scouring the aisles for holiday sets came up with only a small handful scattered around the shop and none of really wow worthy things we snooped online have come in at all. One lipstick for me, a skincare set for her plus a few bite sized cupcakes later and we both wondered… what did we wake up for this morning at all?
Looking up at the Rouge benefits listed online, I realized I had hardly used any of them at all. Sure default free shipping was great but my average considered purchases usually went above the regular shipping threshold anyway. I was also never quick enough to grab the exclusive online Reward Bazzar point redemptions before they sold out. Free makeovers didn’t seem that enticing unless I go to the large downtown store where they have a sectioned upstairs vanity lounge as the regular counters are situated in the middle of high traffic areas. From an average consumer perspective, the only perk I actually actively used was the larger bi-yearly shopping discount but did this warrant and reflect the $1000 spent to be part of this exclusive club?
Paying for my Pillow Talk and redeeming for a set of Quai products, I pondered this as I walked into the newly opened Uniqlo store down the other end of the mall… my Sephora app reminds me I’m $417 away from another year of Rouge.