By  on October 26, 2007

NEW YORK — NYC New York Color is growing up in style.

The brand is gearing up for its 10th anniversary in 2008 with a distinctly different look and feel than its debut.

Del Laboratories launched NYC as a budget brand to take advantage of the lack of 99 cent offerings in the mass market at that time. Back then, Artmatic and Wet 'n' Wild were merged under the same company, AM Cosmetics, and retailers felt there was a need for another player to keep the business fresh.

While NYC is still considered a value brand, Laura Weinstein, senior vice president of marketing for NYC, believes it doesn't appeal only to women looking for inexpensive beauty.

"Because retail today has become blurred and there are no shopping boundaries, you have a consumer who shops Neiman Marcus and Target. She might buy a $2,000 handbag, but pick NYC for $1.99."

So that woman isn't embarrassed when she whips her cheap compact out of her Nancy Gonzalez bag, NYC has worked diligently to enhance its look. "We think our packaging is extraordinary for a value line," said Weinstein. Retailers echoed her sentiments and said NYC has elevated its packaging, especially in the past two years.

Packaging used to have pearl grey bases and clear tops, which didn't stand out on the wall. A transformation to graphite bases helped give NYC a polished look. That message is hammered home with advertising that encourages women to compare NYC pricing and quality with department store brands.

The firm's most recent launch of a mineral line illustrates how the NYC team tries to introduce premium concepts to mass. The carton on the line, called Smooth Mineral Collection, is open on one side to see the actual product and has art on the other to serve as an educational tool so consumers can see how to use the minerals.

Weinstein admitted the mineral category is already crowded, but feels its line, priced at $6.99, will encourage users who've been reluctant to buy other mineral products. "We have to have our box 'play' cosmetician and make it more informative," said Weinstein. "We also have a card that affixes to the shelf to help consumers find their right shade."NYC tried to show consumers it gives them value with some added perks. There's a sifter to distribute the powders so they aren't messy and a kabuki brush included with each powder.

Particular attention was paid to the eye category as it relates to minerals with a kit that can help users achieve many looks, including a dual-ended brush for lining and contouring. There is also a starter kit with finishing powder, blush and two eye powders, retailing for $13.99.

The NYC minerals are companion products to the existing collection rather than a separate entity requiring a larger space commitment. To Weinstein, minerals are no longer a trend, but a must for major mass brands.

Beyond minerals, NYC has other items scheduled for 2008 planograms, including ultravoluminous mascaras. Mascaras were introduced in NYC in 1999, but the new products represent innovation. The first is a lash plumper for building lashes. The other is a new mascara, Lash Precise, said to eliminate clumping. NYC is getting into the lip-plumper category with Lippin Large Lip Plumper, a nonpainful option for plumper lips featuring cinnamon, ginger and peppermint.

Another growth area for the brand — mosaic color wheels. There are additions in face and eye. "We wanted to bring value to the mosaic eye category," said Weinstein. The final category where NYC is expanding is bronzers with two new shades. "Bronzers are no longer a trend," said Weinstein.

Efforts to spruce up NYC have helped Del Laboratories extend the number of doors where it is carried, while also getting back accounts that were sometimes lost in consolidation of the mass retail industry.

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