Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
Last night, Fred Segal Santa Monica held the launch party for U*Tique, the luxury vending machines that premiered there a few weeks ago. Not content to sip fruity cocktails with the rest of the pretty partygoers, we were on a mission to test-drive the machine and see if all the hype surrounding it was justified.
The debut product selection was well thought-out, with everything from the C.O. Bigelow shaving kits to the Juice Beauty organic skincare set chosen by CEO Mara Segal herself. "I was looking for a combination of rising stars and icons, all with convenience in mind," she explained. The touch-screen technology was well-designed and easy to use, providing information on each product and free samples (a feature that requires you to swipe your credit card and enter an e-mail address—supposedly as a fraud-protection measure). This is the first prototype of the machine, so there were naturally a few frozen screens, but all were resolved with a quick reboot—no kicking or shaking required.
On an average shopping trip, we'd prefer to deal with a human salesperson—after all, these aren't exactly CVS-grade products, and we like to ask lots of questions. But we'd love to have a U*Tique around when we've run out of moisturizer at the gym, left our mascara in the airport X-ray bin, or just had one too many margaritas by the hotel pool. Luckily, those are exactly the spots where Segal says it will end up in the not-so-distant future.
· Sephora's New Arch-Nemesis: The U*Tique Vending Machine [Racked LA]
· U*Tique Offers High-End Beauty at the Push of a Button [Racked LA]
· U*Tique [Official Site]