Cake Beauty Inc., the Toronto-based, indie bath, body and hair care brand that was launched in 2003, is aiming to make headway in the U.S. after establishing a healthy business in about 400 doors in Canada, including Sephora’s roughly 21 stores north of the border.
Heather Reier, president and founder of the brand, worked in retail operations at Canadian fashion and accessories retailer Roots prior to developing Cake products from formulas she concocted in her own kitchen.
Today, Cake products are manufactured in Toronto and the firm’s global retail sales volume has reached about $5 million, according to industry sources, following a 7 percent increase in revenues last year compared to 2008.
The firm, which regards the Bliss and Philosophy brands as two of its primary competitors, is carried at about 100 doors in the U.S. and Reier is aiming to at least double that number to 200 doors in the next 12 months.
Last month, Cake was launched on Sephora.com and sales exceeded forecasts by 50 percent during the first week, according to Reier.
“We are pleased to offer Cake Beauty to clients across the U.S. via Sephora.com,” stated Terri Lee, skincare merchant at Sephora.com. “The brand has long been requested by our U.S. clients and we are confident this unique introduction will be as popular here as it is in Canada.”
Reier also hopes to roll out the brand to Sephora stores in the U.S.
This is not the first time the brand has set its sights on a major U.S. retail chain. Five years ago, Cake launched products at Lord & Taylor, but, as Reier put it, “We were not set up properly in 2005 to service the account. But the good news is the brand has grown — our sku lineup is different — so now is the time to launch right back into the U.S.” Reier’s U.S. growth strategy calls for using the same business model that was implemented in Canada: “slow and steady distribution growth,” she said, “focusing on independent boutiques that are influential in key markets [like] Beauty and Main in the Boston area.”
Discussing the brand’s exploits at the LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton-owned perfumery chain’s Canadian stores, Reier claimed, “It’s the fifth best performing brand in Sephora Canada in the skin, hair and bath category. Sales [during 2009] were up 92 percent year over year and comp store sales were up 37 percent.”
“Cake Beauty continues to be one of our best performing brands,” stated Adele Serravalle, director of merchandising and marketing for Sephora Canada. “Cake is unique in that it takes indulgent beauty from complicated and expensive to affordable, sensorial and fun.”
“Initially, I wanted to create products that combined style, innovation and a lot of natural ingredients,” said Reier. “As a self-professed beauty junkie, I was always looking for lotions with a lot of great ingredients — farmer’s market formulas packaged in something cool.” She said she believed vanilla undertones and “delicious” scents had wide appeal, “So, I hit the kitchen and off I went.”
“My mandate for Cake has always remained the same,” she stated. “Results driven, tremendously efficacious products that mix a dash of sass with a generous helping of 90 to 95 percent high quality, natural ingredients. Cake has always been committed to naturally sweet ingredients that offer big results.”
The Cake assortment, which comprises about 36 permanent products, ranges in price from $9 for a 0.2 oz. Cake Kiss Lip Butter to $30 for sugar scrubs, like the 21-oz. Citrus Squeeze Sinfully Smoothing Brown Sugar Scrub.
The assortment is grouped into six sub-collections. Aside from Citrus Squeeze, there are the Satin Sugar, Milk Made, Desserted Island, It’s A Slice and Sweet Cheeks ranges. Some of the brand’s best selling products come from the Satin Sugar range, which includes an amino acid, jojoba oil and honey-infused shampoo and a soy and wheat protein-infused conditioner (both 8.5 oz for $18). Satin Sugar also includes hair and body refreshing powders in light and dark hues, which feature chamomile (both 1.7 oz. for $16); an all purpose treatment balm that employs shea butter (2 oz. for $20), and a hair and body mist that uses aloe vera and vitamin B3 (4 oz. for $14).
The Milk Made line was recently expanded to include a bath and shower cream (17 oz. for $18), a body hydrating moisture milk (8.5 oz. for $18) and a white sugar scrub (20 oz. for $30). Aside from Canada and the U.S., Cake can be found in Russia, Australia, the Middle East, Belgium and Scandinavia.
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