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Beauty Roundup: October 12, 2012

This year, one of the most riveting examples of breast cancer awareness came from an independent pharmacy in Brooklyn called City Chemist.

There are myriad beauty efforts behind October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month (as well as campaigns throughout the year aimed at garnering attention for the support of raising money to cure all cancers). But, this year, one of the most riveting examples of breast cancer awareness didn’t come from a large department store retailer, prestige beauty firm or major mass chain. Instead, it came from an independent pharmacy in Brooklyn called City Chemist.

The store’s marketing director, Diana Dolling Ross, has devoted her entire career to building upscale beauty departments in what could be called “antichain drugstores.” For several years, she helped elevate the selection at an upscale independent store in Ridgewood, N.J., called Town and Country Apothecary where she worked tirelessly to court brands that wouldn’t look at drugstores for distribution. She succeeded in getting names such as Estée Lauder, Bumble and bumble and Laura Geller. This was achieved even though some of the most upscale malls in New Jersey were miles away.

Now she’s at City Chemist and working tirelessly to bring the same premium names to the store in a hopping neighborhood where shoppers don’t always have access to such brands. Last Friday she unveiled her labor of love, windows devoted to both Estée and Evelyn Lauder. Dolling Ross used some of her own memorabilia as well as compacts on loan from the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. A curio cabinet displayed the vintage compacts and original Estée Lauder packaging. In addition, City Chemist donated 10 percent of a week’s worth of Estée Lauder sales to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Pink Champagne and pink cupcakes were served to shoppers who flocked to the store. Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz cut a pink ribbon to herald the new department that is accented with quotes from Mrs. Estée Lauder. Customers were treated to skin-care consultations as well as Estée Lauder makeup applications by the team of beauty associates.

In addition to the newly acquired Estée Lauder brand, City Chemist carries prestige and indie brands like Laura Mercier, Fresh, Paula Dorf, Molton Brown, Philosophy, Smashbox, Bumble and bumble, Carol’s Daughter, Caudalie and Anthony Logistics for Men.

It seems stores like City Chemist are making a comeback across America —  shops that re-create what the drugstores of 30 years ago provided. As manufacturers seek greater distribution options, upscale retailers such as City Chemist offer new opportunities.

People, Places and Things

Procter & Gamble has been in the news recently and the company had to defend its record at the annual shareholders’ meeting on Tuesday. Speaking to shareholders, Bob McDonald, chairman, president and chief executive officer, promised a pipeline of product innovations. One that came up was a tablet to purify water. Retailers hope to see some market holes filled in by P&G. Here are suggestions from a retailer requesting anonymity.

Don’t force all items on all stores:
Olay Pro-X was designed for selection stores, but chains felt pressure to put it in all doors. The positioning is too high from some markets.

Keep it simple: One issue with the constant relaunches of Pantene has been too many stockkeeping units. Keep launches tighter to eliminate logistics issues.

Use knowledge: Hands down, P&G is the best at shopper knowledge and research and development. Make more use of this to solidify retailer and vendor relationships.

What’s in Store

Glam Camp: Ten teen modeling finalists have been selected to become the face of next year’s Rite Aid Glam Camp Back-to-School promotion. Rite Aid received more than 3,000 entries.