Shop Review – Space NK

Space NK Apothecary is an upmarket beauty and skincare store in the UK.  So why don’t I live there?  There are two stores in my city, easily accessible, yet I rarely step foot in the store – in fact its my last choice of shop to buy my goodies. Here are some reasons why;

Note – This is a real Apothecary.

When I was a teen, Space NK was one of those stores I used to peer through the glass windows at dreamily, wondering when I could afford to buy such fancy stuff.  Even now, it stocks the high end brands, the creams that cost £100.

Whenever I go into Space NK, I’m not blown away by the layout.  Everything is clean and clinical, I know it screams high end but there’s not enough space for real make up aficionados to play.  As soon as you walk in the shop assistants glare at you, or even worse, watch you wander round the shop yet chat away with their friends – you have to beg for their attention in order to get served.

Oh yes.  In the 10 years I have been to Space NK, from being a snot nosed teenager in my baggy jeans to the (slightly) grown woman I am now, I still get the sales assistant glare when I go to this store.  I’m not someone who is intimidated by SA’s, I don’t give a damn what people think of me – I’ll go in there in my scruffy jeans and flip fops – my money is still good no matter what I wear…nevertheless this is still one of those shops that gives you chills as you walk in.  Its one of those shops you don’t go in if its empty because you know the SA’s will give you the death stare for distubing their idle chit chat.  This is the sense I get regardless of the branch I have been in, regardless of the time and date, regardless of how I am presented (not that that should matter).

Brands sold a Space NK are:

Some of the brands are hard to find are seem quite exclusive to Space NK, like Lipstick Queen and Terry.  Other brands in any medium sized city is findable at another stores.  Where I live we have Harvey Nichols and Selfridges, and between them they cover most of the brands you find at Space NK.  Needless to say my preference is Selfridges.  Selfridges always feels quite lively and has a nice balance between upmarket and approchable – well there are still beayatches in every high end store, but I find Selfridges the best high end store.

Back to Space NK.  I have never been offered the chance to try a make up item in this store – I don’t know if they are trained to be artists, however, maybe not.  I know I have never been offered any indepth advice, other than "The tills over there".

Another thing I noticed is that they are always low on stock.  Of the last five times I have popped in to buy something by Nars, the colour I want is never in.  Like I mentioned before, its my back up choice of store.  Infact let me list the last few items I wanted to buy which they didn’t have in:

  • Nars blusher in Sertao
  • Nars lipstick in Mojave
  • Nars nail poilsh in Schiap
  • Nars eyeliner in Showgirl
  • Nars lipstick in Hot Voodoo
  • Yu-Be cream
  • Talika Lash treatment

I am surprised by how crap their stock levels are.  Also they never call you back when an item comes back in store even if they have your number.

So overall, I find Space NK a real meh store – in that, the atmophere is unplesant, the staff are either numb ot just not helpful, the range is small and they hardly have things in stock….see, I was thinking, why don’t I love this store when I love all things beauty?  I think the answer is quite simply that whilst it looks pretty, it doesn’t quite provide what it says on the tin. It’s an empty store and no passion or knowledge and I really think when you are selling a high end product you should know your stuff – or lie – just don’t stand there glaring at me like I’m a moron…stop!…STOP!…I said STOP THAT!

Errr so Space NK is a do-do for me. Check out their new online store – surpirse suprise, they barely have anything on it, the navigation is so-so. How can it compete with say HQ Hair? or Strawberrynet?(Chantecaille is much cheaper from them by the way).

Marks: 2/10

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  1. cargolover says

    Space NK SA’s aren’t very knowledgable IME. I already know what I want before I go instore so I just basically pick up what I want and go and pay because they’re probably some of the least helpful SA’s after Clinique! The only good thing about Space NK is the fact that they sell By Terry, Chantecaille & Lipstick Queen. =)
    OH and they sell metal eyelash combs!

  2. Li says

    It’s funny, in the 90s I would make a special trip to the Space NK concession in Harvey Nichols, London. I also loved the MAC counter where I caned Verve, Cherish and Taupe :)

    The Sales Assistant/Artist at Space NK first introduced me to Nars. Sunset Strip, Rollerina and Times Square were my favourites. Then, they achieved a standard that was desirable but now, Space NK really needs to up its game…

    I was fifteen in ’98 with my little DKNY make-up bag. Make up was something I coveted because it was a means of self expression. Now I’m an adult with an independent income (still wearing a uniform though, pah!) I treat myself. On a recent trip to the south coast I visited Space NK in Bournemouth and Brighton. Neither had the Chantecaille Shine Eye Shade – Nectarine – in stock or Nars’ Turkish Delight, the SA desperately (and I mean wouldn’t shut up) tried to convince me that Terracotta suited me and I should get the combination wand. But I bought Sabrina instead (lovely smell but a little bit baby pink!)

    I also got some By Terry Teint De Rose, which is .lush. it smells amazing and helps skin look ace first thing in the morning. There was a By Terry MUA in the Bournemouth store and she was really interesting. But overall the staff in both stores were either rude or relentless. And they have to sort their stock out. I’d love to see Space NK rock. It has some awesome brands it just needs a makeover!

  3. Row says

    Hey Cargolover!

    I am the same in Space NK – I know what I want before I go – but I agree, i like By Terry and they have a few other little gems there and I go there when the main Nars counter has run out of something….that’s about it….

  4. Row says

    Hey Li

    thanks for your comment. Its interesting to see how we grow as time goes on. I used to love to have a look at the MAC counter when I was a teen and Clinique!

    I remeber trying to get Nars Showgirl liner (of course they didnt have it in) and the girl tried to get me to buy Chantecaille – I forget the colour but its a dirty gold whereas showgirl is a bright yellow gold. No thanks I said, but still she took it out and tested it on her hand to show me. Errrr no. Thanks. She looked pissed and told me she had tested it just to show me and now I didn’t want it!

    I am very very very tempted by Terry Tient De Rose – is it just a lip product?

  5. Chica says

    I hate Space NK – firstly because their staff are snotty, rude and intimidating and secondly I hate space-agey layouts, I’m a fan of the olde worlde style shop, all cluttered up with loads to see and play with. The one time I went in and stayed longer than 5 seconds, with the exception of NARS, I thought – what a load of overpriced crap.
    So yes..there’s my two cents 😀

  6. Li says

    Hi, I do use it on my lips but it’s great all over the face for a really refined glow. I find if I apply it straight after cleansing it gets the skin to the level you want it to be at. Does that make sense?? 😀 The By Terry artist told me it was designed as a makeupless night cream to give skin a pretty or ‘honeymoon’ glow after cleansing. Very romantic. And lovely to use. I really recommend it. I have watery eyes too and it is not too irritating and the smell is about the only scented product I’d put anywhere new my skin. My gosh I sound like the annoying SA! hahaha

  7. Connie says

    What do these SA”s do with there time ?? There surely do not answer the phone.
    I am a By Terry fan, but it has became a full time job to try to find , and forget about a SA helping you if you do. If I owned that store it would rock and roll. The SA’s would be a delight or they could go find a new job. I hope the owner of Space NK reads this. I have tried in vein to contact her NY store to buy , By Terry. I never get a call back.
    My adive to Terry is find a new Rep..