By  on September 14, 2007

NEW YORK — Tom Winarick, vice president of Prestige Cosmetics, is quick to admit the retail business doesn't need every line emerging from the current flood of mineral makeups.

Yet, Prestige is joining the ranks of L'Oréal, Neutrogena, Jane, Milani, Wet 'n' Wild, IsaDora, E.L.F. Cosmetics, Revlon, Almay, NYC New York Color and countless others annexing mineral formulas to the assortment.

One distinguishing point for Prestige, noted Winarick, is the company is adding mineral options to existing items rather than creating a freestanding line. Also, the mineral introductions are playing off strengths Prestige has in the market. "We didn't wake up one day and say, 'Let's add minerals,'" said Winarick. Instead, the move was calculated to serve what he sees is a true market void in Prestige's price range for quality minerals.

Prestige, which is associated primarily with the eye category, is zeroing in on mineral eye and bronzer items. The line, called Skin Loving Minerals, boasts baked quads of complimentary and blendable colors that can be applied wet or dry. There are also shimmering trios of eye shadow dust. Prices are $9.95 and $11.95, respectively. A third eye product consists of single shades in clear single pots priced at $3.95 each. Playing off strength in pencils, Prestige is offering eye pencils priced at $4.95 each.

In addition, Prestige created loose powder, powder foundations and translucent finish powder and a bronzer powder to take advantage of strides made in bronzers by the brand. There are also baked-mineral blushes.

Rather than position Skin Loving Minerals as a totally separate line, Winarick said the items are in addition to existing Prestige items. However, the company is asking retailers for an additional foot of space at a time when shelf space battles are heating up with a rash of new minerals and natural items.

Mineral makeups are multiplying at mass now that women have been trained via infomercials and home-shopping networks about the benefits of the formulas. Brands are trying to find their own niche in the burgeoning business, be it price, packaging or positioning. But most retailers worry how they'll find space and how to decide which brands to stock. Prestige also is taking advantage of its healthy distribution abroad, such as in Boots the Chemists, and plans to take its minerals to European markets that are just discovering the benefits of the concept. For Prestige, Winarick said it is a simple proposition since he sees minerals as part of the bigger brand. Beyond that, Winarick and many others believe one or two dedicated brands offer enough choice. The goal is to avoid other mass market pitfalls, where retailers have jumped so heavily onto one trend that the business can't support the footage. The teen category is an example when in the early Nineties, mass marketers yielded too much space to youth brands.Estimates are that minerals can snare about 25 percent of the existing color cosmetics business, or about $750 million, in the mass market within five years. The challenge, explained Winarick, will be enticing women accustomed to one form of foundation to switch to minerals.

Prestige Skin Loving Minerals will launch at retail early next year. There will be introductory pre-packs. The company plans to host in-store beauty events with makeup teams to demonstrate mineral makeup.

But that isn't the only new product news at Prestige. The company is introducing a Hi-Definition fluid eyeliner, a Volume Mousse mascara, a Liquid Glitter eyeliner and in-and-out promotions such as a lip gloss to attach to cell phones.

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