David Suliteanu is an unlikely revolutionary. A retail veteran, he began his career at Bullocks in Los Angeles and steadily worked his way up the department store ranks to the position of vice chairman and director of stores at Macy’s East. He then spent two years as group president of diversified businesses at The Home Depot before joining Sephora in 2000. Under his tenure as president and chief executive officer, the number of stores has quintupled and sales have grown by a factor of 14. Suliteanu’s strategy basically lays in forgetting everything he learned as a department store retailer, making him the perfect choice for the cover of our Renegade issue, in which we’re celebrating those who have pioneered new ways to do business—and won.
“The predominant language spoken by retailers was a brand language. It was developed by the department store approach, which was brand- centric and continues to be brand-centric today,” Suliteanu told me over the course of my reporting for “Forging a New Model.” “Our approach from the beginning was never brand-centric. It was always client-centric.” That approach has led Sephora to implement some unorthodox—and extremely successful—methods for selling beauty products, be it by singling out a mere six products from thousands as the month’s must-buys or setting up in-store play stations where patrons can do anything from manicures to makeovers. Suliteanu’s current goal is equally audacious: to become the number-one prestige beauty retailer in America. Find out the strategy he and his senior management team have devised to achieve just that.
Sephora was instrumental in the indie-brand boom of the late Nineties. Such brands brought energy, youth and animation to beauty counters across the country. A decade later, they, like Sephora, are now well established, leading some retailers and industry analysts in search of the next generation of game-changing ideas. But as WWD’s beauty financial editor, Molly Prior, reports in “No Bed of Roses,” cultivating and growing an independent makeup brand today is much more challenging than it was a decade ago. Discover today’s emerging indies, and what it will take for them to navigate through the thorny issues confronting them.
As a perfumer at IFF for eight years, Christophe Laudamiel could be considered a card-carrying member of the establishment. But Laudamiel, who has a master’s degree in chemistry, grew frustrated with the commercial fragrance world and struck out on his own to expand the parameters of perfumery. As outspoken as he is inventive, Laudamiel shares his vision with WWD’s executive editor of beauty, Pete Born, in “Agent Provocateur.” As you’ll see, Laudamiel isn’t shy about expressing his views, and we hope you’re not, either. Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me what you think about this issue.
5 Key Points From This Issue
1. Girls Just Want to Have Fun: By pioneering a client-centric approach to retailing that emphasizes the shopping experience, Sephora has gobbled up market share in the U.S. beauty market.
2. Land of Opportunity: In South America, standout brands have strong color statements. Fragrance-wise, designers dominate.
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews