By  on July 10, 2009

The Best Sellers From Marketplace

So what’s your best-selling item right now? That was the question WWD reporters posed to attendees at last week’s National Association of Chain Drug Stores’ Marketplace meeting in Boston.

With everyone down about the economy, it was welcome news to hear there are success stories. Companies were quick with answers which included everything from mascaras to bath soaks.

At Yes, To Ltd, Ido Leffler, the chief executive officer, said there are two brisk movers — the carrot shampoo and the Berry Lip Butter. He feels both of these items provide tremendous quality at a value price.

Kao proudly touted its John Frieda Root Awakening as its top seller. The item is designed to stimulate and feed roots for more radiant hair. In a stagnant hair care category, the item provided a nice sales kick, according to Lori Mills, director of customer marketing for Kao Brands.

The Ulta beauty team was working hard on the show floor, visiting many booths with interesting niche items. The merchants singled out mascaras as very hot, especially L’Oréal’s Extreme Volume Collagen mascara. The item has amazing reviews from bloggers. Ulta also expects big things from Maybelline’s Pulse Perfection, the first widely marketed mass vibrating mascara.

Chris McClain of Advanced Beauty Systems singled out his Dr. Teal’s bath products.

Other items and categories mentioned as standing out in tough times were, RapidLash, an eye lash grower, products backed by Paris Hilton and glitter nail colors shown by several firms. The rush to celebrity-backed projects, so big in prestige, filtered down to mass with Pamela Anderson and Kathy Ireland behind projects. Anderson, in fact, was on hand for most of the show.

Retailers are forever optimistic and this show was no different. The show floor was less crowded — as are most trade shows today. Companies are watching travel costs and sending fewer representatives.Even though they saw few exciting items, they trudged through the aisles to appointments and met with vendors in one-on-one sessions. Even one hot item is enough to make the show worthwhile, they said. But even more than the business angle, Jack McAuliffe of Beauty Handbook said the meeting is like an alumni gathering. “It provides the opportunity to reconnect with the industry,” he said.

People, Places and Things

A few words with Rod Kautz, former buyer, now head of Retailer Insights. With his vast experience on the buyer side, Kautz is proving to be a great resource for suppliers. Kautz held top retail positions with PayLess and Rite Aid before forming his firm.

What do you think you can bring to the business?

Kautz: There are so many opportunities for companies with great products that don’t know how to bring their items to the business. They don’t know the cost of entry in the market. I saw one great line from Italy, but they don’t understand our distribution channels and they don’t know how to sustain the brand.

WWDBeautyNews: Can a small or midsized company enter the market today?

Kautz: It is hard, but if you have a reason for being you can survive even with stock optimization. If you are small, you have to have a value or a point of difference. And, you have to realize that your first check won’t be as big as you hoped once retailers take their deductions. You have to really be market ready.

What’s In Store

Hollywood Fashion Tape: One buyer’s first hit of the show was the booth from Hollywood Fashion tape featuring double-stick tape to help affix clothing. Retailers thought it could be a nice impulse sale in the beauty department.

Paris Presents Expands Eco-Tools: Based on the success of makeup tools, Paris Presents now has eco-friendly bath and body care items that are already selling well are Walgreens.

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