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CEW Talks Successful Skin-Care Strategies

Three executives focused on the fast-changing category and growth opportunities in the marketplace at CEW’s Beauty Insider Series.

Maria Dempsey, Agnes Landau and Kara Langan.

Cosmetic Executive Women members are about to get connected with their colleagues more than before.

On June 18, Carlotta Jacobson, president of CEW, unveiled CEW Connect, an interactive membership directory that is designed with the LinkedIn model in mind. The online community launched Monday on community.cew.org.

Following the announcement, three skin-care executives focused on the fast-changing category and growth opportunities in the marketplace at CEW’s Beauty Insider Series’ “Face to Face: Skin Care’s Power Players.” The talk, moderated by Jill Scalamandre, senior vice president of the Philosophy brand and Coty Prestige skin care, included Maria Dempsey, executive vice president of regional marketing at Clarins Group USA; Agnes Landau, senior vice president of global marketing at Clinique, and Kara Langan, vice president of global marketing at Elizabeth Arden.

Scalamandre began by stating that in skin care, globally, there has been a deceleration.

“For the past five years, the U.S. has been the fastest skin-care business in the world,” said Dempsey. “It’s picked up a billion dollars in five years. It’s been a very dynamic industry. There’s big opportunity still. It’s a slight slowdown, but nothing to panic about.”

Landau added, “It’s interesting to see what is growing. [Beauty] online is superhot. It’s growing double digits.”

Even though the market is declining, Scalamandre asked the panelists what key trends are gaining traction.

Dempsey noted that at-home beauty care, such as devices like Clarisonic and facial masks, is a top trend. Langan spoke about customization and how it takes do-it-yourself to a whole new level. She added that brands working with consumers to create new products will be an important trend as skin care moves forward.

Landau agreed with both women, and noted that Clinique will launch its first cleansing device in the fall.

“This is an important category for Clinique,” said Landau. “[Cleansing] is the equity of the brand.”

The conversation shifted to ethnicities and how they will continue to impact the business in the future.

Dempsey stressed that companies have to look at the changing demographics of the U.S. She added that the number of Hispanic consumers is growing significantly and will be 30 to 40 percent of the population in the next 25 to 35 years. The rising populations of Asian consumers, travelers, Millennials and Baby Boomers are also communities that companies need to consider.

“Today, its about how those demographics are shifting,” said Langan. “As ethnicities begin to emerge, women will age differently.”

To that end, Landau spoke about Clinique’s newest launch, Smart Custom Repair Serum, which can zero in on someone’s skin-care problems.

“The idea behind this serum is that it understands the signal that your skin is sending when damaged,” said Landau.

Meanwhile, the executives talked about innovation and how it goes beyond the product and, according to Dempsey, it’s in digital.

“One of things at Clarins we pride ourselves on is the relationship with the customer in this digital world,” said Dempsey. “We’ve partnered with a company called TurnTo. The customer will ask a question, and the program will send e-mails to customers that have already bought and used the product so that customers get genuine feedback. It’s this beauty of customer’s interacting with other customers.”

For Langan, it’s about the experience.

“At Elizabeth Arden we opened The Red Door in Union Square,” said Langan. “That for us was an opportunity to bring an experience and drive home the relevancy that still exists in our brand. It serves two purposes, it brings the brand alive and lets us learn what the consumer wants and needs and how we can expand that.”

Experience is also crucial to Clarins, and it recently revamped its counter at Macy’s in Flushing, N.Y., to appeal to the Asian consumer.

“Flushing, Queens, has the second-largest Chinese population outside of China,” said Dempsey. “We had to renovate so that the Asian customer shopping in Flushing was comfortable shopping there. We have a whole team of beauty advisers who speak Mandarin. We revised our displays to be in Chinese and in Mandarin, and we’re doing advertising and a TV commercial that also addresses the needs of the Asian customer.”

Next, Scalamandre asked Langan to speak about Elizabeth Arden’s newest line being sold in dermatologist offices.

“We have just launched a line called Elizabeth Arden RX,” she said. “It’s sold exclusively through dermatologist and plastic surgeons offices. We decided to enter the channel because when we were looking at the consumer we wanted to target, we saw that she over-indexes versus the average women per visits to dermatologists, plastic surgeons and spas. It was a chance to get new women into the brand and increase brand relevancy. It’s also this whole omnichannel strategy. We are talking to women wherever they’re thinking about skin care.”