NEW YORK -- Del Laboratories is attempting to overtake the professional nail care business, the fastest growing category in the mass beauty market.
Del, one of the most innovative companies in the mass market, is now shipping its new Sally Hansen Professional line.
The 28-stockkeeping-unit line is the first introduction into the professional nail care category from a major beauty manufacturer. Until now, the business has been dominated by niche players -- many with a heritage in beauty salons, such as Kiss Products of Port Washington, N.Y.
The Del assortment includes acrylic nails, nail glue, silk and fiberglass wraps, sculpture powders and implements. Prices for the line, which is currently shipping to 15,000 mass outlets, range from $2.99 Quick Dry Nail Glue to $10 for the Gel Overlay Kit.
"We believe this is one of the fastest-growing segments of the cosmetics business," said Bill McMenemy, executive vice president of Del Laboratories, based in Farmingdale, N.Y. "This is different from the inexpensive false nails that dominated the market in the early Eighties. These are professional quality products."
Research from New York-based Towne-Oller & Associates shows sales for 12 months ended August 1993 rising 11 percent to $92 million for the professional nail care category.
McMenemy, who estimated that the budding professional market "should double in one year," expects Sally Hansen Professional to be the catalyst behind the sales surge. The firm is pumping $3 million to $4 million in print advertising to support Sally Hansen Professional.
The campaign will break in the April editions of Cosmopolitan and Glamour. In addition to consumer publications, Sally Hansen Professional will be advertised in Nails Magazine, a trade publication targeted at nail technicians. Training tapes will also be produced for in-store cosmeticians and nail technicians.
Industry sources estimate Sally Hansen Professional could achieve sales of at least $20 million in the first year, making it the number one player.
Retailers agree that Sally Hansen Professional could have a powerful impact on the business.
"They have a lot going for them because of the high awareness of the Sally Hansen name," said Carol Allman, group director for the Eckerd Drug Co. of Largo, Fla. "Salon-style nails have not been a branded business before."McMenemy expects sales growth to be fueled by two trends. First is the fact that many salon professionals are going to mass retailers to buy their supplies. The other is that more women have learned how to apply acrylic nails at home.
"Instead of spending as much as $50 at a salon, women can do it at home for under $10," said McMenemy.
Retailers agree that the trend toward applying nails at home has created the need for a new department in their stores. Some of the retailers that have devoted space to professional nail care departments include Genovese Drug Stores in Melville, N.Y., Drug Emporium, based in Powell, Ohio, Revco Drug Stores in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Eckerd.
"Artificial nails are absolutely the strongest department in cosmetics right now," said Judy Wray, senior cosmetics buyer for Revco.
Retailers appear to welcome the growing volume in nail care since gross margins in the category are at least 35 percent, while color cosmetics hovers at less than 30 percent.
In addition, not as many competing outlets offer a large selection of professional nail care items. To date, drugstores have been the leaders in expanding their assortments to feature the new products, giving them an edge over department, discount and food stores.
In addition to the Kiss line, current top-selling brands include products from Fing'rs of Camarillo, Calif.; Ardell International in Los Angeles; IBD in Van Nuys, Calif.; Cosmar in Huntington Beach, Calif.; Jonel Inc. in Chicago; Orly in Chatsworth, Calif., and Nailene of Costa Mesa, Calif.
Many of these lines originally were supplied to professional salons and eventually merchandised in the mass market by distributors. Because consumers recognized the brand names from salons, retailers say there was instant acceptance.
To reinforce its salon roots, Kiss Products sends staff manicurists to stores to participate in promotions similar to the free makeovers in the cosmetics market.
"This has resulted in amazing sales increases," said Larry Kapfer, vice president of sales for Kiss, whose Lightning Nails is its main mass line.
Competitors debate the viability of the Sally Hansen name in professional nail care since it is not a line migrating from salons. "You can't buy a salon heritage," said one manufacturer.Retailers, however, think the power of the Sally Hansen name -- the market leader in traditional nail care -- will build sales.
"There are other lines selling well that are not, in the true sense of the word, salon brands, so I don't think that is a problem," said Wray.
Added Allman at Eckerd, "If anything, you are going to get more consumers in the general market -- people who never purchased these items -- to try them because of the Sally Hansen name."
Although the new Sally Hansen line will challenge the niche brands, retailers don't think they will have to edit the assortment to find room for it.
"We're putting them on a side rack near our nail department," said Allman, referring to unused space on the sides of end-aisle displays. McMenemy agreed that retailers are using the introduction as an opportunity to expand the professional nail care set beyond the typical four-foot department.
"They will be adding to the department. And the issue of space isn't as big a deal anymore with the phaseout of Clarion," he added, referring to Procter & Gamble's decision to close out its Clarion color makeup.
The launch of Sally Hansen Professional is reminiscent of Del's assault on the bath category four years ago. That category had been characterized by smaller players and a lack of coherent merchandising programs -- much like the recent history of professional nail care.
When Del launched Naturistics four years ago, it advocated a separate bath department in mass outlets. The introduction was so successful that Naturistics not only sparked a sales explosion but pioneered a new category, populated by a proliferation of competing lines.
"We are aiming to be just as bold in nail care," McMenemy noted, "as we were in bath."
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye
Did you know: @carlychaikin of "Mr. Robot" has been painting for about a decade? The actress, who plays Darlene on the show, is a self-taught artist who lists Salvador Dalí and Chuck Close as some of her idols. Chaikin told WWD that painting is a form of meditation for her — A much-needed one given the intensity of "Mr. Robot." See a piece Chaikin is working on at WWD.com (📷: @jilliansollazzo) #wwdeye