Alaska’s first Sephora

I wasn’t that excited in the spring when word got out that Anchorage’s JC Penney would be getting a Sephora outpost. As much as I loved the idea of Sephora establishing a presence in the AK (the short-lived mystery vending machine doesn’t count), I’ve never been impressed by any of the JC Penney in-store Sephora locations I’ve encountered. So I didn’t go running downtown to check it out when it opened in August.

A week or so ago, though, my husband suggested we take a pass through Penney’s on the way to the new Apple store (also coming soon: Aeropostale and Teavana). And I was pleasantly surprised to find this:

OK, you probably can’t tell from my lame cell phone photo (taken from the Olsenboye section), but we didn’t get the dinky little Sephora counter I’ve seen at Outside JC Penney stores; we got, basically, a small Sephora store inside our JC Penney. We stayed long enough for me to get excited, and then we left (to go have an argument about why I can’t have an iPad). I went back after work tonight, though, and took a closer look. I liked what I saw.

Our mini-Sephora carries a lot of favorite brands, including Urban Decay, Stila, Korres, Murad, Tarte, Cargo and a decent selection of fragrances. And of course, my husband’s favorite:

Seriously, though, he does really love Philosophy. We have a half-dozen or more different three-in-ones in the shower at any given time. He likes the fruity scents.

There’s also a big selection of Sephora brand products, including the full line of OPI for Sephora (be still my nail-painting little heart), and a nice range of skincare and hair products. I wish they hadn’t wasted space on Body Shop products (there’s a Body Shop store right down the hall at the Fifth Avenue Mall), maybe filling those shelves instead with some high-end brands we can’t find elsewhere in town (like Guerlain, maybe? Illamasqua? I’d really like to see Koh Gen Do in person), but overall, I’m thrilled with the store. The staff is helpful, the selection is good, and now I don’t have to wait for days to replace my moisturizer when I run out.

Of course, the downside is that I’m much more likely to spend money I didn’t plan on spending when I’m shopping in person rather than shopping online. Which is how I ended up with this:

Yes, that’s original formula Nars Zulu on my fingernails. When you see something special on the cover of the Sephora holiday catalog, you don’t hesitate; you buy, buy, buy!

I didn’t intend to walk out with anything, and I certainly didn’t plan on spending $64 on a palette, but it was there, and I was there, and one thing led to another… But! The great thing about having a Sephora is that now, apparently, we will have Sephora special events. I didn’t realize until I was checking out that I’d stumbled into the middle of an Urban Decay promotion. I walked out with this:

…which was packed with my new palette, plus a free (really cute) UD T-shirt and a deluxe sample of Stardust in Retrograde. If you’re in Anchorage, the promotion continues Saturday and Sunday, so if you had any inclination toward buying the new Book of Shadows palette, go get it in person and score your own free UD swag.

Well played, then, Sephora. You made a JC Penney believer out of this doubting V.I.B. Welcome to the Last Frontier. I hope this is just the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship between Sephora and Alaska…

2 thoughts

  1. I totally echo everything you said, (except about the UD gwp, cuz I didn't know about that), but it's far better than i thought it would be. I still wish it was a regular store in the mall tho

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