By  on July 22, 2005

NEW YORK — Cosmetic Market owner and Therapy Systems founder Linda Roberts plans to open six Cosmetic Market locations and 12 freestanding Skin by Therapy Systems stores over the next year, and she’s counting on one thing: that consumers will come to depend on their skin care as much as their daily cup of coffee.

“Why can’t I be the Starbucks of serious skin care?” asked the Nashville native via a phone interview. Indeed, if anyone can make a glycolic cleanser as indispensable as a shot of early-morning caffeine, it’s Roberts, who has built a multimillion dollar beauty business over 25 years and owns several retail spaces, including Nashville boutique Private Edition and two Cosmetic Market locations in the Nashville area, and her signature skin care line, Therapy Systems.

But Roberts wants more, and that includes opening up to 25 Skin by Therapy Systems locations across the country over the course of five years, as well as 25 Cosmetic Market locations. She adds that she hopes to achieve this goal with increased financial backing. “I’m going to have to find someone who’s smarter than me with more money than me who can be involved and take me to that really big level,” she admitted.

The new Cosmetic Market locations will follow the store’s original format: a supermarket-like, one-stop beauty shop featuring an in-store cafe and convenient perks (customers can call in orders ahead of time and have their purchases delivered to their car), and will average around 3,000 square feet. Lines carried in the stores include Kiehl’s Since 1851, Bumble and bumble and Philosophy.

In contrast, the Skin by Therapy Systems stores will average between 800 to 1,250 square feet and will sell only the Therapy Systems skin care line.  The stores will feature glass fronts, slate floors, corrugated steel and red Lucite accents, according to Roberts. In addition, treatment areas will be sectioned off by “electric privacy shields,” she said.

Last but certainly not least, salespeople will sport — and Roberts is serious here — black-and-white designer outfits topped off with Manolo Blahnik heels (each salesperson will be allotted two pair per year by the company). “It’s just so they know they’re in something quality — when you wear nice things, it’s about how they make you feel,” said Roberts.And Blahniks are just the beginning. When the first Skin by Therapy Systems stores open in November (in the Greenhouse Mall in Nashville and yet-to-be confirmed locations, Roberts will introduce a line of wearable, neutral-based color cosmetics called — what else — Natural by Therapy Systems, to offer customers a pick-me-up after a treatment.

The color cosmetics line is being developed by a “custom cosmetics house,” according to Roberts, and will feature mineral powders, lip tints, neutral eye shadows, eyeliners, blushes and mascaras, among other offerings. The line will range from $18 for the Lip Stain with SPF 15 to $35 for the Mineral Powder. Roberts expects it to bring in up to $400,000 in first-year sales and hopes to boost her Therapy Systems business to $4.5 million in the next year with the help of the new stores (the line currently does about $3 million in retail sales).

Roberts said she is also looking at various markets, including Chicago, Los Angeles and New York for the Skin by Therapy Systems stores.

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