Revlon Inc. is fit and ready to return to its leadership beauty position, declared company president and chief executive officer Alan Ennis.
But don’t expect Revlon to rely solely on existing marketing tools or return to the fragrance category in a big way. Instead, Ennis has a laserlike focus on Revlon’s current strengths.
“I think over the years, Revlon got lost in this space where it lost focus on the goal,” said Ennis, adding that through 2007, there were about 15 years of negative cash flow at the company. “They were trying to drive the brand, trying to drive brand equity, trying to spend behind the brand, but at the same time they weren’t minding the shop. And so the classic example is while expanding the empire in Rome, the administration was collapsing.”
A turnaround started around 2008, he said, with a disciplined approach — which included a 20 percent reduction in head count — and a fact-based strategy for spending. “And Revlon has stuck to its guns. We have kept our costs down. We now have a 25 percent operating income margin. And it may not be a big number for some of the big boys and girls in the room, but over the last four years, we’ve generated $250 million of positive cash flow. So after 15 years of burning cash, we generated positive cash flow.”
Simultaneously, Revlon put muscle into its core brands. Revlon has a three-year rolling portfolio strategy across all segments identifying launches through the first quarter of 2015. With those aspects running smoothly, the next step was people. In 2009, Revlon started rebuilding its staff, including what he called a “formidable” team with Julia Goldin as the chief marketing officer and a group who understands the new corporate culture.
With its company ready to do business, Ennis described an upbeat domestic market as well as opportunities overseas. While China is a complex market, he does see potential there, but also throughout all of Asia. However, he hopes to see more manufacturing return to America, especially as regulations become standard across the industry. “We are all striving to produce high-quality products at affordable prices that are safe for the consumer and that work. The issue with regulation is that it’s disintegrated, that there is no common set of standards around the world. There is no common set of standards in the U.S. There is a real opportunity to harmonize what’s considered to be the acceptable regulations,” he said.
Grabbing the consumer in today’s multichannel world is challenging and Ennis noted that “simply running a TV campaign during daytime TV” doesn’t work as well as it once did. Revlon increased its spending behind digital platforms over the last four years, and digital represents somewhere between 15 and 20 percent of its total media spend.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast