Vending beauty machine

Photo: Michael Jacobson

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Automated Retail Outlets
We know all about machines that dispense sodas, candy, condoms, fishing bait, DVDs, and Buddhist prayer beads (in Nagano, Japan). But antioxidant moisturizer? That's a first. The contraption above accepts money in exchange for high-end beauty products from brands like Lancôme, Chantecaille, and C.O. Bigelow. Just don't call it a vending machine. "This is automated retail," says Mara Segal, CEO of Utique, the company behind the technology. "A touch screen gives you information about each product, even lets you watch video demonstrations before you purchase." And your eyeshadow palette won't come tumbling down from the top shelf—a little robot inside the machine places fragile products in your hands. Utique currently has a vending machine—er, automated retail outlet—at Studio BeautyMix at Fred Segal in Santa Monica and hopes to install more, mostly in airports and hotels, by the end of the year. — Jenny Bailly
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