For a pop-up shop in New York City, Brooklyn-based haircare company Amika worked together with Crosby Studios to build a ‘hair confessional,’ an inclusive styling place aimed at familiarising visitors with the brand and showing them a good time with one another.

Open through the last Monday of May in SoHo, the free, immersive pop-up experience was designed in collaboration between Amika’s creative director Vita Raykhman and Harry Nuriev of Crosby Studios.

Being a brand that’s only available through a network of independent salons and Sephora stores, Amika wanted to seize an opportunity to engage more directly with their audience and community one-on-one. They have, however, garnered a loyal following for themselves on Instagram, where they advertise their products in splashes of bright colours and with no shortage of emoji. So Nuriev took Amika’s vibrant product branding – the result of a 2018 redesign – and turned into a spatial world.

We wanted to play with the standard experience found at salons and beauty retailers

'We wanted to play with the standard experience found at salons and beauty retailers, where everyone sits alone at a styling station,’ explained Raykhman. ‘Instead, we focused on a round styling table to make the experience communal and social, as though at a restaurant.’

The interactive hair styling stations give visitors a chance to socialise with one another and trained stylists are there to educate and share techniques. While there’s plenty of photo-ops, the ‘shared moment’ is really meant to be one-on-one.

‘People are generally happier in a community than on their own,’ said Raykhman. ‘This approach is also in step with our view of beauty – which is about fun, rather than a source of insecurity.’

The takeaway: The pop-up is an important tool for the growth of contemporary haircare and beauty brands, especially those that have paved the way for themselves with the help of social media. American cult beauty brand Glossier, for example, has excelled at building exposure and desirability with pop-ups that are so Insta-friendly they feel permanent. It’s also how they’ve introduced themselves to new markets – such was the case in Paris, where Glossier popped-up at the iconic concept store Colette a few months before it closed for good in 2017.