Shops & Services
Q&A: Andrew Goetz of MALIN+GOETZ
To mark the launch of the Cabot Place store, we joined company co-founder, Andrew Goetz to learn more about the brand
Canary Wharf has welcomed cult New York apothecary brand MALIN+GOETZ to Cabot Place. Founded in Manhattan in 2004 by Matthew Malin and Andrew Goetz, the brand has built a dedicated following thanks to its straight-forward approach to ethical skincare, architectural-led stores and design-conscious packaging.
Inspired by traditional neighbourhood apothecaries, MALIN+GOETZ products are designed to suit all skin types, are locally-made in New York and are never tested on animals.
To mark the launch of the Cabot Place store, Wharf News joined company co-founder, Andrew Goetz, for breakfast at all-day diner Caravan to learn more about the brand.
What inspired you to establish MALIN+GOETZ?
My partner Matthew, who’s my partner in life as well as in work, came from the beauty world and I would always visit him at various places of work. Coming from a design environment – I worked as the marketing director for the Swiss furniture manufacturer Vitra – I would walk in and think that so many things could be improved. The packaging was all over the place. There were far too many products. It was intimidating. One of the last places Matthew worked before we started our business was Kiehl’s. I looked at him and said there was a real opportunity to create an apothecary experience but to keep it simple, not do something complicated. To do something very minimalist and modern. To look at an old apothecary and modernise it. Make it less intimidating. Not just from a packaging point of view but from a formulaic point of view. It became a fusion of his world of beauty and my world of architecture and design.
How did you originally launch MALIN+GOETZ?
The idea was to launch our brand in New York with our own store, and we were probably quite lucky because we ended up being the shopkeepers above the store. Our shop was literally below our apartment. We also launched in Barneys New York, which was the premier department store in America at the time, Liberty of London, and with an ecommerce site. We also got into a lot of design-orientated hotels, basically giving away free samples. Like London, New York is a media centre. So we would have dinner parties with all the editors. I would cook all the food in the apartment above and then bring it down and host parties in the store. It became sort of an ‘it’ thing to do. Our marketing was very guerrilla.
Your packaging has featured in the San Francisco Museum of Art. What did that mean to you?
To be completely clear, I’m not a designer. I’m a marketing guy. The design firm that designed our packaging, 2×4, I had hired through Vitra a million years ago. They were amazing graphic designers and I always loved working with them. They were always very clever and articulate in explaining why something worked and for what reasons. We had always had this collection of glass apothecary jars, late 19th-century brown glasses, and we literally bought them into the 2×4 office and said ‘we love this, but we need to do something modern and contemporary’. So they basically just modernised one of those old apothecary jars.
How and where do MALIN+GOETZ products get made?
Neither Matthew or I are chemists. Nor do we pretend to be. But we do work really closely with our chemists. We’ll come up with a concept, identify where we think there’s a void, and then it becomes a creative process. You go back and forth, back and forth, and eventually you arrive at the product. Sometimes it’s really easy and sometimes it’s really difficult. We’re about to launch a new SPF 30, for instance. It took almost four years to get it right. We’ll never do anything for the sake of a trend. We’ll only ever do something if there’s a real need for it. Everything is made within a 90-mile radius of New York, so we try and keep the carbon footprint down as much as possible.
What made Canary Wharf such an attractive place to open a new store?
Canary Wharf has changed so much. It has morphed from what was once strictly a business district to a truly 24/7 environment. You have people that are working here, but you also have people that are living here. There’s a great selection of shops. It just felt like a natural fit for us.
Is it possible to describe the typical MALIN+GOETZ customer?
They probably share a lot of things in common. I wouldn’t say our customer is solely a beauty or grooming junkie. It’s a lifestyle customer. In many ways, it’s someone that’s not unlike Matthew and I. We love to travel, we love to eat out, we love to go to the theatre. You can’t really pigeon-hole them into being one type of person. Probably someone that enjoys an urban environment. Whether that’s New York or London or LA or Hong Kong.
What’s your customer split, male to female?
Almost 50:50. It’s been very consistent since the very beginning. The day we opened that store in Chelsea, New York, it was 50 per cent women, 50 per cent men.
Does MALIN+GOETZ have one halo product?
We have more than one halo product, we have halo products in each category. We have ‘face’, ‘body’, ‘hair’, ‘fragrance’ and ‘candles’. And in each one of those categories we have a superstar. With ‘face’, there’s more than one. Our grapefruit face cleanser and vitamin e face moisturiser are superstars. But so too is our detox face mask, and our spot treatment is off the chart. In ‘body’, our eucalyptus deodorant is perhaps one of our best-selling products. In ‘hair’, it’s our peppermint shampoo and hydrating conditioner.
What is your best-selling product?
Our vitamin e face moisturiser. Closely followed by our eucalyptus deodorant.
Which is your personal favourite MALIN+GOETZ product?
Ah, the Sophie’s choice question! I love all my children equally! I use the grapefruit face cleanser, vitamin e face moisturiser and eucalyptus deodorant every single day.
What’s your favourite day of the week and why?
Friday, because I get out of the city and go to the country.
Favourite holiday destination?
Last book you read?
Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman.
Last play you saw?
Take me Out, about a gay baseball player.
Most indulgent luxury you’ve ever allowed yourself?
Staying in an incredible hotel in Rome that was more than we could probably afford – but it was worth every single penny.
Favourite guilty pleasure?
Best series you’ve watched recently?
The Andy Warhol Diaries on Netflix.