When Kylie Jenner announced she would be opening her second limited pop-up shop in New York City, I knew I had to check it out. And when someone from the PeopleStyle team needed to cover the grand opening, I was the first to volunteer myself as tribute.
The pop-up shop, which is located at 27 Mercer Street in Soho, officially opened its doors to King Kylie’s loyal fans — some of whom traveled from as far as Las Vegas to see her and shop her makeup and clothing lines in person (not to mention get a coveted Instagram photo of the shop’s famous wall of lip kits). On top of featuring all of the star’s Kylie Cosmetics bestsellers, the shop also carries limited quantities of her limited edition collections (like the KoKo collection with her big sister Khloé Kardashian and Valentine’s Day products), plus the newest Kylie Shop merch that officially launches tomorrow at 3 p.m. PST at TheKylieShop.com.
By the time my cab pulled up to the pop-up at 6:30 a.m., a full three and a half hours before the store opened, the line of excited fans already went down the block and wrapped halfway around the next. I made my way to the front to talk to Kylie’s most hardcore fans about their experience camping out to ensure they’d be the first ones walking into the pop-up’s doors at 10 a.m.
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Dressed in head-to-toe Kylie products – from Mary Jo K matte liquid lipstick to The Burgundy Kyshadow Palette to sweatshirts with Kylie’s name sprawled across them – her biggest supporters went all out for the occasion.
Although Kylie promised her fans on her app and Instagram that she would be at the store to open its doors right at 10 a.m., they were disappointed to see she didn’t actually arrive to greet everyone until past noon. But most fans at the front of the line kept a positive attitude through it all (hey, they need it to survive over 48 hours standing in the freezing rain and cold!).
“If I could say one thing to Kylie, I would say keep doing what she’s doing. She’s inspiring millions of people. She’s making millions of people happy. And you can only be famous for so long, so she’s doing something right,” one teenage male fan, who traveled from Long Island to sit 20 hours at the front of the line for the opening said.
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Another fan (who came all the way from Las Vegas for the opening) added: “She’s making her own person. She’s not using her family name. She’s honestly one of the most inspiring people. Yeah, her family is famous, but she went out of her way to make her own business and she’s doing something.”
As we entered the final minutes before the store opened, the NYPD barricaded the entire block of Mercer Street, the line of fans to get into the shop wrapped around the entire block and even more fans lined up across the street (not even waiting in line), just hoping to get a glimpse of King Kylie when she showed up.
Once the doors opened, security let in 20 to 30 fans at a time (the shop only holds 150 people max), and one officer I spoke to estimated only 1,200 to 1,500 of the over 2,000 fans there would actually get inside on opening day. After spending the entire morning outside the shop (press wasn’t allowed inside yet), I headed back to my usual PeopleStyle desk job until 3:30 p.m., when I went back to catch Kylie’s last few moments in the store.
When I was ushered inside by a slew of publicists, I was greeted with Chris Brown’s “Party” bumping so loud I felt like I was in a nightclub and endless Kylie products. First and foremost, I had to get a few snaps of the wall of lip kits, then headed toward the back of the store to find the star of the day.
Like her Los Angeles pop-up shop counterpart, the layout and design of this store looked pretty similar. A plush, white bed with a faux fur blanket thrown over it and hot pink LED “Kylie” light above took up most of the back wall, and there, Kylie and her krew spent most of their time. As press, I wasn’t allowed to take pictures of Kylie inside the actual store, only outside. I did manage to get a sneaky shot of Tyga, who accompanied his girlfriend to the opening (along with some of other guy friends whom I didn’t recognize). Plenty of shoppers chatted with Tyga and took selfies with him as he awkwardly stood, and occasionally checking his phone, in the back of the store.
Once I overheard Kylie was about to leave, I dropped my basket and ran outside to get the money shot that I woke up at 5:30 a.m. to get. I stood next to the door with one other reporter, and then she stepped out, of course surrounded by her team of security. The fans roared the second her nude booties hit the pavement and without hesitation, Kylie marched straight across the street to greet her fans.
I actually couldn’t believe the number of hugs, selfies and fans Kylie spoke to outside the store – as much as I resented her for making me stand in the cold for hours on a Monday morning post-covering the Grammys for People.com, I did gain some respect for her after seeing those interactions. After a good five minutes outside, she waved one final goodbye and drove off to get ready to attend the crazy Philipp Plein fashion show that night.
Before I left for the day, I went back inside and buy some makeup (I mean, I did wait hours and make two trips to the shop). I’m a makeup addict, and felt overwhelmed by all the choices surrounding me. I grabbed products I knew off the top of my head – a Burgundy Kyshadow palette, a Candy K matte liquid lipstick, a Mailboo lip kit, a Rose Gold créme shadow from her limited Birthday Collection – and then threw in a lighter with Kris Jenner‘s face on it for good measure.
Overall, one thing I took away from my experience was the immense the love and dedication Kylie’s fans have for her, just from spending a few hours waiting for her with them in the sub-30° weather. Check out the five most surprising things I learned below, from my crazy day-long experience with her most loyal followers.
1. The 12 people at the front of the line (and arguably the most hardcore Kylie Jenner fans) started waiting at 10 a.m. on Saturday for the store opening. Yep, that’s a full 48 hours in the freezing rain, snow and harsh New York City winds for Kylie. And none of that brought them down. One young woman said her love for Kylie started when she watched Keeping Up with the Kardashians, and learning how to do makeup like the star helped her overcome a dark period in her life. These lucky few even met Kylie the night before when she swung by to visit the store before its grand opening – and said she was more beautiful and kind in person than they ever expected.
2. Her fan base is diverse. Truly, no one Kylie Jenner fan is alike. The 19-year-old star’s fans that came out to her opening (more than 2,000 of them) ranged from young women in their 20s to teenage boys and elementary-aged girls who brought their moms and dads along.
3. A strong camaraderie exists between her fans. I expected tensions to be high, with people being possessive of their spots in line and attempts to push their way to the front. But really, everyone at the opening had each other’s backs. Girls asked me if I wanted to borrow one of their blankets to bundle up, and others would grab each other coffees from Starbucks to help pass the time.
4. Her merchandise from The Kylie Shop is the most in-demand. People came decked out in sweatshirts and t-shirts adorned with Kylie’s face and name, and they wanted more. Yes, most fans I talked to said they were planning to buy a lip kit or two (“Because I have to [get one] from the lip kit wall! Probably Ginger since it is a rarer shade,” one girl said.) but they were really there to get their hands on the one-of-a-kind merchandise that sells out in minutes online.
5. The inside of the store is an actual dream. Whether you’re a Kylie diehard or makeup junkie, you will die and go to heaven if you’re lucky enough to get inside the store. Imagine: every single Kylie Cosmetics makeup product, plus every one of her new clothing launches, a lighter plastered with Kris Jenner’s face on it, thongs covered in Kylie’s name and every other item that’s been sold out on her site for months.
During my second go-around, I mingled with Kylie and Tyga as I shopped and Snapped, and watched tons of her fans inside have their dreams come true getting selfies with the star. Oh, and that crazy OCD-organized lip kit wall you keep hearing about? Yep, it’s just as beautiful in person as you’d expect.
Tell us: are you going to try to visit Kylie’s N.Y.C. pop-up shop before everything sells out? Share your experiences with us below.