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The Kylie Cosmetics Pop-Up Shows Traditional Retail Still Has Legs

Kylie Jenner's cosmetics line is in pop-ups in Topshop stores across the country, and the retailer hopes her online lip kit fans will follow her into their stores.

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Kylie Jenner's lip kits usually draw a massive rush of shoppers within minutes when they launch online. Now, a new partnership between Kylie Cosmetics and the retailer Topshop hopes to bring Kylie-mania from the internet into physical stores.

The pop-ups, which opened on Nov. 20 in seven Topshop stores in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Houston, Chicago, Las Vegas, and Miami Aventura, will carry Kylie's cosmetics collection for five weeks, along with two lip kits developed exclusively for the collaboration.

On Monday, hundreds of people lined up outside of Topshop's store in Midtown Manhattan before doors opened. Kylie Cosmetics' last pop-up shops in December and February led to massive crowds and sold out.

"You can physically see it and touch it versus online you're kind of guessing what it's going to look like," Kylie lip kit fan Caitlyn Finnecy told BuzzFeed News. "Buying online you don't have that same ability to see it and feel it."

"It's a better experience," said Kristen Valenti, from Long Island. "You don't waste money if it's too orange or pink or too brown."

Traditional brick-and-mortar retailers have been teaming up with online companies as their sales decline.

Line keeps growing and doors just opened

Topshop and Topman’s UK stores saw sales slide in 2016, according to the BBC, and a number of top executives left the company this year. The company, which has its own cosmetics line, said the decline was a result of increased competition in fashion retail as clothing becomes a less important part of spending.

Meanwhile Kylie Cosmetics made an estimated $420 million in sales in the first 18 months after it launched in 2016 and is projected to bring in $1 billion in lifetime sales by 2022, according to Women's Wear Daily, a retail trade publication.

Other retailers are forming their own partnerships. Amazon Fashion and Calvin Klein announced a pop-up shop collaboration, which will be available through Dec. 31 in New York City and Los Angeles. Calvin Klein will also sell exclusive styles at the shops and on its brand store on Amazon.com.

Jenner's partnership with Topshop follows market research that shows — shockingly — despite the boom in online sales, shoppers still prefer to buy new products in store.

People were really into getting hands on w Kylie’s products

About 66% of shoppers prefer buying cosmetics in store if they are buying a product for the first time, according to a TABS Analytics report published in February.

"It's easier [to buy in store]," said Joselin Vaquero, from Brooklyn, who bought a Kylie lip kit online, only for it to get lost in the mail. She said she never got a refund.

Carly Donnelly, from Glasgow, said her Kylie lip kits have taken anywhere from two to three weeks to arrive and don't end up being the color she expected. "I probably wouldn't have bought them if I had tried them on," said Donnelly.

Other online brands are experimenting with physical stores. Online skincare company Glossier has a traveling pop-up store that recently ended a weeklong stint in Dallas and is now opening in London. Casper partnered with Target in May to bring its mattresses to stores after a similar partnership with West Elm last year.

"Since our launch online three years ago, we’ve seen a huge demand from customers who want to experience the Casper brand in person,” Philip Krim, CEO and cofounder of Casper, said in a statement. “Partnering with Target allows us to bring Casper products directly to consumers in store on a national scale.”

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Leticia Miranda is a retail reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Leticia Miranda at leticia.miranda@buzzfeed.com.

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