L’Occitane first started in the markets in Provence when a young Olivier Baussan began distilling rosemary essential oil to sell locally over 40 years ago. He learned about the natural benefits of plants found on the land he grew up on. Today, the luxury beauty brand is loved around the world with a solid following — me included!

I had discovered the brand’s Verbena line while travelling. It wasn’t just the citrusy scent that drew me in but also how my skin felt. Then I fell in love with the Shea Butter Hand Cream and Almond Oil. I admit to hoarding the products and packing every nook and cranny in my luggage whenever I could, until it had finally arrived in Canada.

The L’Occitane boutique at Yorkdale Shopping Centre just unveiled a fresh new look and feel that can only be experienced in person. The company partnered with School House, a cutting-edge creative brand agency to re-imagine the retail experience for the consumer. The result is a stunning  multi-sensory boutique that still maintains the company’s core values. Experience and personal attention are key in learning about the line.

When you approach this boutique you feel like you’re entering a sunshine filled happy place. Botanicals that are used in the line are hung from the ceiling. The circular shapes represent the golden sun and the coloured glass archways are reminiscent of the towns found in the land.Visitors to the boutique are invited to step into the beautiful world of Provence or Corsica for an immersive digital experience.

Turn around and feast your eyes towards the sky and you’ll find the tower made of over 2000 hand cream tubes — look closely and you’ll find the CN Tower. Don’t be surprised if a member of their staff comes and offer you a soothing hand massage with the hand cream of your choice. Bonus, there are phone charging stations too!

Me with my wonderful friend Charmaine Gooden, Editor of The Beauty Guide and Professor

Gentle rainfall pods are motion activated and give way for a caressing way to experience the various skin care lines but your sensory journey doesn’t end there.  Visit the scent cloud station that gives you a very unique approach to discovering their fragrances.

They’ve also introduced a recycling program with TerraCycle where you can bring in your unwanted beauty packaging (any brand) and they will take care of that. This program will roll out in 15 other locations across Canada in coming months.

So much to see and experience here — it’s not only changing the way we approach retail but it’s also a  little escape to France! I mean, have you been to Yorkdale? It’s nuts.

Christopher Skinner (Founder and Principal of School House), Nancy (L’Occitane), and Paul Blackburn (North American Vice President of Concept Design, Construction & Design for L’Occitane)