In 1851, John Kiehl set up his apothecary at Third Avenue and Thirteenth Street in New York (the location where the Kiehl’s flagship store stands today), supplying homeopathic and herbal remedies developed from botanical recipes. His classic European-style pharmacy soon became an East Village institution, frequented and loved by all in the community. When John Kiehl retired, his apprentice Irving Morse took over the reins. Buying over the company to continue the good work of its founder was a natural progression for Morse because he had worked closely with Kiehl to create many of the formulations that customers swore by for their skin and hair care needs.
The Morse family grew the business while remaining true to the philosophy of its founder, opening points of sale and standalone stores across the globe to bring Kiehl’s fine products to customers worldwide. “Mr. Bones”, the lab coat-wearing skeleton, was also introduced to educate customers about how Kiehl’s remedies would improve health. Today, this unlikely ambassador has become a fixture in stores across the globe. Kiehl’s signature “Try Before You Buy” sampling programme was also launched – a nod to its tradition of providing personalised skin and hair care solutions, as well as an attestation to the confidence the company had in its products.
TAILORED FOR MEN
Recognising a gap in the cosmetics industry, Irving’s son Aaron, made Kiehl’s the pioneer in meeting the grooming and personal care needs of male customers. His collections of motorcycles and Lamborghinis were proudly displayed at the pharmacy for the enjoyment of its male patrons, making their shopping experience all the more exciting. Kiehl’s iconic Blue Astringent known affectionately to customers as “the blue stuff” is an example of its commitment to male customers, who use it not only as a toner, an after-shave treatment, but also to prevent razor bumps. Folklore has it that Andy Warhol himself used to buy Blue Astringent regularly from the Kiehl’s flagship store blocks away from the site of his famed “Factory” in New York.
The male consumer’s confidence in Kiehl’s is not unfounded. The company’s vast cosmetic, pharmaceutical, herbal and medicinal knowledge, and its experience acquired and developed through the generations enable Kiehl’s to formulate high quality and personalised skin and hair products that its customers have come to expect since 1851. Adhering to its pharmaceutical ethos, Kiehl’s skincare is scientifically formulated to respect, restore and strengthen the skin barrier to protect skin from damage and help it retain moisture.
Kiehl’s Aloe Vera Cream, as exhibited in the Smithsonian Museum
CELEBRATING A DECADE IN SINGAPORE
The brand was known among discerning well-travelled local customers even before Kiehl’s opened its first boutique in Singapore. So it was no surprise that when the Scotts Square boutique opened in 2004, customers were quick to embrace Kiehl’s fine formulations. Customers’ confidence in the Kiehl’s saw the expansion of the brand in Singapore, with the opening of other standalone stores and points of sale. Kiehl’s celebrates its 10th anniversary in Singapore this year and remains devoted to serving its Singapore patrons with dedication and passion. The brand is also committed to its mission of giving back to the local community, having in the past decade supported local charities such as Mainly I Love Kids (MILK), Children’s Cancer Foundation and the Singapore Environment Council.
Kiehl’s best selling Facial Fuel range