By  on February 12, 2010

ECRM Survives No Matter What

Each year, it seems various ECRM meetings are plagued with obstacles. A few years ago in Pittsburgh, the parking deck collapsed in the hotel, shutting down display areas. In Atlanta, torrential rain kept people stuck in airports two summers ago. And this week, a blizzard threatened to curtail attendance at the cosmetics, fragrance and bath session set for Orlando, Fla.

When it comes to ECRM EPPS sessions, buyers and suppliers become like mailmen — no weather conditions stop them from getting there. Perhaps the promise that buyers will honor their appointments is what keeps suppliers coming back year after year; for retailers, it’s the hope for the next hot item. Also, representatives from both sides of the buyer-seller equation always praise ECRM’s social activities. Chief executive officer Charlie Bowlus said this year’s attendance was up 15 percent — not bad in this economy.

There were some who hopped on earlier flights to flee the threat of snow. It didn’t help that Orlando was chilly — perhaps if it was hot in Florida, people wouldn’t have minded staying put. But for the time buyers and vendors were there, the meeting was productive.

Mark Crames, chief executive officer of Demeter Fragrance Library, thinks the industry is on the verge of a major breakthrough. He saw a spirit in buyers that had been dormant for some time. Robert Wallner of Milani also saw a drive from retailers to bring the business back.

Buyers uncovered some new items they hope could bring the magic back. ECRM polled some of its attendees to see what they liked; a few comments from retailers and suppliers follow:

• Quite a few retailers commented on Dream Time’s Aromatherapy heat treatment products and how they were really innovative.

• Several buyers really liked Solerra’s new products which include Solerra Tanee Tanline Corrector, which is a DHA-based product that develops a tan in four to six hours and fills in tan lines. There’s also a Solerra Sunless Tanning Mitt infused with a single-use tanner • “Nail is hot right now,” a buyer said. He noticed a lot of new nail products to keep up with the growing trend of do-it-at-home nails.

• “The ECRM Cosmetics, Fragrance and Bath show was an extremely successful show for us,” said Eli Tobias ofe.l.f. Cosmetics. “It was the best way to start off 2010 and the most effective format for us to present our holiday line. We were thrilled that we had the ability to see so many top-notch retailers in just a few days.”

• “We have heard how totally organized ECRM events were before, but our first ECRM experience at the Cosmetics, Fragrance and Bath EPPS event exceeded our expectations,” said Wayne Peterson, divisional vice president of Sears Canada. “The event connected us with a broad scope of quality vendors. We loved the quick introductions and the opportunity to see so many new products/ideas in such a short period of time. ECRM offers a fast frequency formula that works,”

• “We found some really innovative products at ECRM’s Cosmetics, Fragrance and Bath show,” said a buyer who asked to remain anonymous. “We were particularly impressed with L’Oréal’s Double Extend mascara that actually grows your lashes. I have used the product before, so I know that it actually works. In addition, we thought Body Therapy Workshop had several great products. They featured high-end looking products and the bottles on some of their gift sets were so unique and even looked like specialty bath, but the price was just right.”

People, Places and Things

A few words with Mark Crames, chief executive officer of Demeter Fragrance Library.

WWDBeautyNews: How is ECRM?

Crames: We are having a good show beyond the success we are experiencing. I am seeing an interest in new and different products, a willingness to experiment with product as well as format, which I have not seen for the last year or two.In other words, I think we are doing well because people want different.Different and proven is better still. There is definitely an effort to raise the bar on beauty all the way across the board.

WWDBeautyNews: Is business getting better?

Crames: I have heard it said great businesses are often born during recessions because greater creativity is required to succeed.I think we are on the cusp of one of those times in beauty, and that new paradigms are just beginning to emerge.

What’s In Store

Fashion Week Stars Beauty:
Sally Hansen, Maybelline and now Gillette are major players during fashion week. Gillette made its debut as part of a partnership with men’s wear collection Duckie Brown. Celebrity groomer Merrell Hollis prepared models using the Gillette Fusion Power MVP razor and other Gillette products.

Markwins Names Fennelly:
Markwins International has named Wilson Fennelly to its North American sales management team.

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