One of the biggest struggles I faced after moving to Pakistan as a makeup addict and beauty influencer was to finding quality makeup products. Unfortunately, Pakistan is littered with fake makeup products and while the prices are almost equivalent to or more than the the prices in the US or UK, the quality is poor. When purchasing such products, I’ve had to be extremely careful by checking the expiration dates; and even then I have gotten stuck with fake materials. This can jeopardize someone’s skin, and career. Well, to my delight Pakistan’s first ever makeup studio opened up in Blue Area, Islamabad called The Edit. It is a flagship store of PAK Cosmetics; a beauty boutique retailer based in the UK, and it retails 100% authentic products- HALLELUJAH!
I had the pleasure of checking out the store and sitting down one-on-one with the store’s owner, Shahab Tassadaq Hussain. I also did a walk-through of the store to check out all of their inventory, ambiance, staff, and customer service. After visiting the store I was highly satisfied and glad The Edit is so close to home; it’s a 5 minute drive from my house (which isn’t a big deal since Islamabad is so tiny.) I think I can easily say it is my new favorite destination for makeup and beauty essentials.
To start of the many reasons why I recommend this store to all my makeup lovers in Pakistan is their wide range of inventory. The Edit contains products ranging from professional makeup brands such as Huda Beauty, NARS, Fenti Beauty, Kat Von D, to drugstore makeup brands such as L’Oreal and NYX Cosmetics. This is the first store to offer such brands to makeup consumers in Pakistan.
The ambiance of the store is beautiful. The black and white color scheme, the open floor plan, and the lighted mirrors help make the store’s interior absolutely gorgeous. The color scheme and floor layout almost resembles Sephora, except the granite flooring and the way Sephora has their merchandise displayed. I loved the open floor plan because it makes shopping much easier. It is easy to view all the products and walk around the store without getting lost or overwhelmed. It’s truly a luxurious shopping experience.
Talking about being overwhelmed I want to mention The Edit’s staff. Unlike many stores in Pakistan where employees are constantly following customers around and constantly asking what they are in the store for, The Edit’s staff gives their customers their personal space. I truly believe when a store staff member is always following you around and showing customers millions of options the customer can become overwhelmed. This can drive a customer away from the store or create an unpleasant experience. The Edit gives their customers their space and time to easily browse the store, take a look at their products, and decide what they do and don’t want to buy. As a person who has worked with Bloomingdales and Ulta, this shopping experience is incredibly valuable to me.
Another great quality is how polite their staff is. Each staff member seems excited to be working there and this reflects in how they greet their customers. They all are smiling, happy, and extremely helpful. This is where customer service play key a part. Each customer is treated with respect and they value their employee-customer relationship.
Finally, after perusing the store and controlling the urge to buy everything, I had the pleasure of interviewing The Edit’s owner and asked him few questions:
Question: What is the reason behind the name “The Edit”?
Shahab: The store is more of a makeup studio where the products are edited to be focused on particular makeup and hair care products.
Question: It says you are part of PAKS Cosmetics. What brought them to Islamabad to open a flagship store?
Shahab: PAKS is a company that caters towards professional artists in the film, movie, and music industry. The Edit’s goal is to cater towards the consumers, and the reason I chose to open up the store in Islamabad is because A) Islamabad is home, and B) because I felt comfortable opening up a store where I am familiar about the area. Opening the store in other cities in Pakistan would require constant traveling, and unfamiliarity.
Questions: I see you have a wide range of products. Who is in charge of product selection? And was it challenging to get products such as Huda Beauty, NARS, Fenti Beauty, and GHD products?
Shahab: Our makeup product line selection is done by our creative director Fatima Abass, and I pick out the hair care brands and the fragrances. Yes it was challenging to get these products especially Huda products. We had the Faux Foundation in our stores exactly 24 hours after the product launched. We have buyers in 4 countries so it was easy to get our hold of products for our store.
Question: There are a lot of stores that are selling makeup and beauty products that are either copies or expired in Pakistan. How can your consumers trust your store for selling authentic products?
Shahab: Well I don’t think they can to be honest. There are millions of makeup products and multiple versions of same products. It just comes down to its quality. But my customers can trust The Edit because as a owner of this store I care too much about my reputation. I strongly believe that If I won’t purchase fake or expired materials, than I am sure not going to sell such products to my customers.
Question: Your product price range is quite high. What is the reason for such price points?
Shahab: The Edit is one of its kind. There is no real competitor for our store yet. We are exclusively a makeup and hair care boutique that offers brand that no one else is offering.
When considering prices we also have to factor out our cost of expenses such as rent, our staff, inventory space, and additional expenses that are part of operating a successful store. Our product quality when compared to our “competitors” is much higher. Like mentioned before I value the quality of our products. Another reason why our prices are “high” is because of the cost for importing the brands we carry in our store. The Edit has a lot more professional brands than drugstore brands, and in order for us to carry these brands we have to keep some margin for profit. And lastly, we are the only makeup store to have a huge sale on all products store wide. So for the people that are complaining about our prices, you are paying for quality over quantity when purchasing from The Edit.
Our new Facebook campaign is actually going to focus on this topic. It won’t list product price in the details and in order to find how much a particular product cost, a person would have to physically visit the store.
Question: Your store layout is similar to Sephora. What inspired you to create such a layout?
Shahab: I don’t think our store resembles Sephore, but I guess the layout can be compared to Sephora. We wanted a store layout that is visible from all angles, and will allow our customers to circulate throughout the store to view all of our inventory.
Questions: You have an in-store makeup artist. How did you choose the makeup artist? And what’s her availability?
Shahab: We had a campaign that reached out to anyone that was interested in Islamabad and Rawalpindi to try out for our makeup artist position. Our in-store artist is available six days a week except Monday.
Question: Why do you think Pakistan is a unique market for makeup?
Shahab: Pakistan is the only place where the consumers will pay more for a product regardless of its quality. Majority of people purchasing makeup are least concern with the quality but care about having branded makeup. Not everyone in Pakistan can afford to visit abroad to get makeup, so they will pay whatever the price just to have a particular item.
Question: Lastly, what is the future for The Edit? And are you looking into branching out to other cities in Pakistan?
Shahab: The future of The Edit is to carry more professional products as suppose to the lower-end brands. As far as branching out or franchising, as of right now we are just focusing on our store in Islamabad. We had offers to franchise and partnership in Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar, and Sialkot, but we are satisfied being in Islamabad for now.
I am truly floored by the experience The Edit has brought to Islamabad. I hope that more makeup and beauty brands follow in their footsteps and take a chance on this wonderful city that I call home. Check it out for yourself and let me know your thoughts!