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Editor’s Letter: The Need for Speed

When Philip Shearer agreed to be photographed with his new car, capable of going from zero to 60 m.p.h. in 27 seconds, the opportunity was irresistible.

Appeared In
Special Issue
Beauty Inc issue 06/15/2012

When Philip Shearer agreed to be photographed with his new $225,000 Radical Sportscars racer, capable of going from zero to 60 m.p.h. in 2.7 seconds, the opportunity was irresistible. The car presents the perfect metaphor for Shearer’s career track. Currently the chief executive officer of Groupe Clarins, Shearer is a seasoned industry executive, one for whom speed, agility and a firm fixation on the finish line (not to mention the bottom line) have become hallmarks of his approach to business.

This story first appeared in the June 15, 2012 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

 

His tenure at Clarins, which he joined four years ago, has already been marked by a number of milestones: strategic expansion of the company’s digital operations, significant paydown of a $1 billion loan incurred when Clarins went private in 2008 and a reconception of the product line that has led to a jolt in sales.

 

Now, Shearer has set a bold goal: to make Clarins the number-one brand in the global prestige skin care market. To achieve that, Shearer and his team will have to power the brand to at least $1.6 billion in sales for 2012, 30 percent higher than three years ago. Shearer slowed down recently to reveal to Pete Born how he plans on powering the company to that goal. Read about his strategy in “Driving Force” on page 20.

 

Shearer isn’t the only driven executive in the beauty business. At the 2012 WWD Beauty CEO Summit, held at The Breakers in Palm Beach in May, the message was clear: Beauty’s top leaders are clearly focused on capitalizing on the opportunities created by the sociocultural, digital and economic revolutions that have rocked the world over the past three years. “Our world has changed very profoundly and very quickly,” said Jean-Paul Agon, ceo of L’Oréal, as he laid out his manifesto for meeting the changes head-on. For insight into the six key takeaways from our biannual meeting of beauty’s most strategic thinkers, turn to “New Day Dawning” on page 30.

 

Naturally, China was top of mind at the summit, and on our minds this month as well. Specifically, an emerging group of beauty converts caught our eye—the du shi yu nan, or “city jade men.” In the U.S., we would call them metrosexuals, a group of young men for whom good grooming is a key means of getting ahead, both in their love life and their professional métiers. Collectively, these guys are helping fuel growth in China’s men’s market, which is increasing at three times that of its female counterpart. In “Clean Cut” on page 26, Casey Hall meets some of Shanghai’s resident hunks, and reports on how the grooming market is expected to develop. Elsewhere in this issue, we have an in-depth interview with mineral makeup pioneer Jane Iredale and an undercover visit to the Fashion Show Mall in Las Vegas. In August,
we’ll return with our annual ranking of beauty’s top 100 companies. In the meantime, I welcome your feedback and views on our industry at jenny_fine@ fairchildfashion.com.

 

Key Points From This Issue

 

1. Taking Advantages. The enormous sociocultural changes of the recent past have created myriad opportunities for the beauty industry.

 

2. Thinking Big.  Clarins’ ceo Philip Shearer is looking to make the company number one in global prestige skin care.

 

3. The Metrosexual Lives. Men’s grooming products have become a key business driver in China.

 

4. Drilling For Oil. Thanks to the success of argan oil, the hottest new product format is slick indeed.

 

5. Opening the Jewelry Box. Paris’ newest beauty boutiques are small, charming and stocked with hard-to-find lines.