By  on February 15, 2002

NEW YORK -- The long-wearing makeup trend has been a hit in lipsticks and mascaras.

Grant Lloyd Berry, the founder and creator of niche beauty lines such as Pirate Cosmetics and Lord & Berry, thinks there's an opportunity in the market for non-transfer pencils, too. Now free from a one-year, non-compete contract under AM Cosmetics, which purchased Lord & Berry as part of an acquisition spree in 1997, Berry has launched a new cosmetics pencil line called Styli-Style.

Likening today's market to the time when he started Lord & Berry in the early Nineties, Berry thinks there are opportunities on the peg wall. When Lord & Berry bowed, mass market consumers were craving upscale pencil products that had only been available in prestige doors.

Several niche marketers such as Lord & Berry, Prestige Cosmetics and Nat Robbins were born. Lord & Berry, in fact, mushroomed to a company with sales exceeding $25 million. Retailers cleared space on crowded shelves for the fledgling brands, which matured into full color lines. The new lines became so attractive that they grabbed the attention of larger firms. Eventually Lord & Berry was purchased by A&M, while Renaissance (now New Dana) grabbed Nat Robbins. However, without the attention of entrepreneurs who nurtured the brands, the innovation dried up. With the exception of scant distribution in retailers such as Duane Reade, both brands have almost withered away.

That's where Berry comes in. "The pencil market has come of age, but you need to create a specialized position," said Berry who has also been consulting for Intercos. "I felt it was time for me to develop a more sophisticated product and create a brand really driven by innovation."

Made in France, the centerpiece of Styli-Style is Line & Seal, which features a silicone-based formula allowing for smooth application and semipermanent color.

While Berry feels he's filling a market need, he also believes the time is right for emerging new beauty brands. Retailers are revamping cosmetics walls to account for the exit of Olay, as well as market share shifts among major brands. "Retailers are hungry for points of differentiation," he explained. He hopes to build Styli-Style to sales rivaling that of Lord & Berry at its height.Finding a name is never easy. During a computer class, Berry hit upon the idea of using the plural of the word stylus. He added style to help hammer home the idea of fashion for mass markets.

Rather than jump feet first into mass market distribution, Berry has been testing the line in about 600 independent beauty supply stores. "It is doing great and consumers see the value in the product because it lasts longer [than other pencils]," said Berry. He's expecting to get distribution in the next few months in chains such as Duane Reade and Ulta. Duane Reade's divisional merchandise manager Karen Durham said upscale pencil lines do well at Duane Reade and that she is looking at new lines.

Within the next 12 to 18 months, Berry hopes to secure 5,000 doors for Styli-Style. He's teamed up with long-time industry veterans Herb and Fran Wilson, owners of Fran Wilson Creative Cosmetics, to manage the new company.

The initial products include Line & Seal, one of the first semipermanent eye and lip liners on the market, Line and Blend and Kajal eyeliner. There is also a pencil sharpener. The suggested retail price is $5.

Known for shopper stopping in-store displays, Berry has created a compelling counter display to help introduce customers to the pencils. Small in footprint, the display houses 12 different shades. Berry knows that netting wall space will be a slow build. "I realize that at first we will get in through the counter display," he said.

Berry, the son of beauty pioneer Madeleine Mono, doesn't rule out expanding Styli-Style into other color products. "I'd like to create a brand, but one driven by innovation," he said.

Jill Tymn always had trouble growing her nails until she became a fan of Sally Hansen's Maximum Growth. While shopping her local Meijer store, she was attracted to an end-of-aisle display for other Sally Hansen products. She also noticed signs for the Best of You contest sponsored by Glamour Magazine and Del Laboratories. She thought it could be an opportunity for her to help spread the word about The Julian Center, a non-profit shelter for families suffering from domestic violence where she volunteers.That chance stop at the display netted Tymn of Greenwood, Ind. a trip to Manhattan to be honored as one of four Best of You winners. As part of the contest, which is entered by thousands of women, according to Mona D. Monaghan, senior vice president of Sally Hansen, women talked up their best features and how those features help them do good deeds for others. Beyond physical beauty, the award was bestowed upon those who volunteer their time. Tymn won for Best Feet and her involvement with The Julian Center. Other winners were Rachel Hamman of Maitland, Fla. for Best Hands and her work with The Golden Rule Foundation, a charity dedicated to teaching children; Adrienne Kistner of Cincinnati, Ohio for Best Lips and her dedication to raising awareness of eating disorders; and Abigail Rosin of New York who was honored Best Legs and her efforts with Groove With Me, an organization offering free dance lessons for young girls in New York with the goal of building self-esteem. Rosin, who shops at Duane Reade, impressed Karen Durham, senior vice president for the Manhattan drugstore chain. "She is just incredible and we're happy she shops our stores," she said at the contest's awards luncheon Monday. Del and Glamour will kick off the next Best of You awards in June 2002.

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