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.
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