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Following The Buzz

Beyond Department Store Cosmetics

March 14, 2013
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While some of us saw the biting cold weather begin in 2013, the first month of the New Year also ushered in something else. Mass merchandiser Walmart officially got on board with celebrity collaborations.

Walmart, Drew Barrymore, and Maesa, a leading creator and manufacturer owf exclusive beauty products, came together to create the new exclusive cosmetics line FLOWER, which hit stores and Walmart.com  in January.

Walmart claims the line is on par with department store luxury brands, although the eye, face, lip and nail products range from only $4.98 to $13.98. So how, exactly, do they manage to pull off that quality level with an exclusive brand?

As an owner of the brand, Barrymore promotes FLOWER, which allows the company to put all of its money into the formulations and packaging, and not into advertising. Walmart claims this saved revenue allows FLOWER to spend two to three times more on formulation and packaging than the average mass market brand.

I, for one, can’t wait to try the new line. The price tag certainly allows shoppers to buy-and-try without the typical fear of losing money on a product that doesn’t look good on – another reason why I’m a huge fan of Sephora’s try-it-before-you-buy-it model.

Of course, retailers offering exclusive celebrity cosmetic lines is nothing new.

In August 2011, drugstore retailer CVS launched Nuance Salma Hayek, a beauty line developed by the actress in partnership with CVS. The price range falls a little higher than Walmart’s new line, with skincare, cosmetics, hair care and body products priced at $2.99 to $25. But the line was quickly honored with the “Launch of the Year: Mass” Award at the 2011 Beauty Inc Awards in New York City (Beauty Inc, is a Women’s Wear Daily special-issue magazine).

In April 2012, Kohl’s Corporation launched Vera Wang’s first makeup line, Simply Vera Cosmetics. This cosmetics line is a bit more out of reach, with prices ranging from $16.50 to $39.50.

And Target’s Sonia Kashuk collection has been in stores since 1998, while the more recent Sonia Kashuk Luxe launched in November 2011.

The line remains fresh with limited editions, and in January, Target announced another one if its outside-the-box marketing techniques. Sonia Kashuk and Umberto (Umberto Beverly Hills hair care is another Target exclusive) worked alongside Academy Award-winning costume designer Colleen Atwood to re-create the timeless Holly Golightly makeup and hair look for the Broadway adaption of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”

 Looking ahead, for those of you interested in learning more about the beauty industry, I suggest registering for this year’s Cosmoprof North America. The 11th annual show takes place July 14-16 at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. Last year’s show featured 856 exhibiting companies with more than 25,000 attendees. The show floor sold out, too, so make sure you register early.  

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