The Entrepreneurial Spirit

A new product is designed to be added to hair color to eliminate gray — a common complaint about current mass market products. A young woman launches a lip gloss on a string to halt it from being lost. The product called Yo-Yo Lip Gloss already has a following in clothing chains. The founder is a young entrepreneur named Angie Onassis Parlionas. Paris Hilton fronts a hair brush and a new nail color line.

Is the spirit of the entrepreneur back in the mass business? At a time when retailers are slicing stock keeping units left and right, a handful of new items are coming forth — hoping for a shot at space on the shelf.

This trend harkens back to the early Eighties when a bevy of youth-oriented items bowed. A young, bright woman named Kristin Penta created a line called Fun that had a nice run in mass chains. The youthful brands Caboodles and Sweet Georgia Brown debuted and helped drug chains and discounters bring in young shoppers. Another company brought a spinning wand for lip gloss to the National Association of Chain Drug Stores’ Marketplace meeting that got buyers talking. These niche items were so popular that large manufacturers kicked up their creative juices to keep up with the “little guy.”

Those were the fun days of the business and the mentioned niche items provide a glimmer that those days are returning. With business so stagnant, entrepreneurs are taking the opportunity to inch into the market. Chains have weeded out dead items and might have a few crevices in planograms to experiment.

The timing couldn’t be better according to Wendy Liebmann, the founder of WSL Strategic Retail. She said consumers do have some pent-up demand and want to be wowed. Unfortunately, she said in a recent report, what most retailers are offering is “boring,” especially for back-to-school. The upcoming season could be the one to at least experiment with an entrepreneurial item.

There are lively items out there. Retailers need to go beyond the big players and be willing to take a chance on a company that maybe can’t pay high entrance fees. Maybe a niche lip gloss or a unique hair color could just be the item that gets shoppers to part with their bucks.


People, Place and Things

A few words with Edward Geopfert, vice president of sales and marketing for DeveloPlus who gained shelf space in hair color with Color Oops and now hopes for the same with an item called No Gray

WWDBeautyNews: What is the reason for No Gray?

Geopfert: Seventy percent of those who color their hair do so to color gray. But many are disappointed with the products on the market. We talk to colorists and stylists and it is the number-one problem we hear. Our product is added to your hair color to cover gray. Retail buyers have recognized this as real problem-solver for the home hair color market and believe consumers, both men and women, understand the need and how to use it

WWDBeautyNews: How is Color Oops doing?

Geopfert: It has exceeded our expectations and we are now marketing it as a fashion product to change your hair color in seconds. That is helping us get more turns.


What’s In Store:

ECRM Invites Girl Scouts: Who knows more about products than an intrepid Girl Scout? ECRM has invited celebrity hairstylist Sally Hershberger to show visiting Girl Scouts the behind-the-scenes building of a beauty business. The show kicks off next week in Miami, Fla.

Go Yo-Yo: Lip gloss gets lost — a fact of life. Now a new company called Yo-Yo Lip Gloss hopes to solve that problem with flavorful glosses that are affixed to a clip that can snap onto clothing, bags or any other item. The company, which was founded by Angie Onassis Parlionas, hopes to secure space in major mass retailers.

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