Stila's got a new woman in charge, and she's taking the makeup artist brand back to its roots in an effort to embrace the future.
Laurie McCartney, who was named chief marketing and creative officer of Stila in March, has just been promoted to the role of chief executive officer — or, as she calls herself, "chief executive Stila girl." She is taking the reins from Jane McKellar, who is no longer with the company.
"I've loved Stila for years," said McCartney, the founder and former ceo of Babystyle, said earlier this week. "Jeanine [Lobell, the brand's founder] and I crossed paths a lot over the years, and Jeanine's essence is what made Stila cool — she was a visionary. I'm excited to take the company back to its heritage and to really play on its DNA."
The appointment caps an eventful time for the brand, which was owned by the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. from the summer of 1999 until April 2006, when it sold the brand to Sun Capital Partners Inc., a private investment firm.
As her first order of business, McCartney is revisiting the brand's classic and discontinued products — and promises to bring some old favorites back. For instance, the brand's Eye Glaze — an eye shadow in a pen — is being reformulated and renamed. "The new version allows for a more natural look — we took about 75 percent of the pigment out of the Eye Glaze, so that it's very subtle, and renamed it Eyelighter," explained McCartney. It is due for summer 2008.
The Stila girl — the stylized sketch of a young woman which was used heavily on packaging and in-store visuals during Stila's early years — will return to the brand's imagery, said McCartney, as will the inspirational quotes on the inside lid of the eye shadows which Lobell used liberally when she started Stila in 1994.
A number of new products are also on the drawing board, including a lip and cheek stain dubbed Cherry Crush, which is due in spring 2008. "It was inspired by a local farmer's market — that great stain you get on your lips when you eat cherries," said McCartney, adding that the product is also flavored with a tart cherry taste and fortified with antioxidants. Interestingly, the color won't look the same on everyone, she said. "It will react and change color with your DNA." The Farmer's Market feeling will be carried through to the packaging, which will feature cherry blossoms, said McCartney.After releasing a slew of holiday kits, the brand will turn its attention to eye shadows, another category which has been overhauled. Stila will release 56 new eye shadows for spring 2008.
Global expansion is also a priority, but it will be done in "a careful and controlled way," said McCartney, adding that the brand will make its debut in Dubai in early September. It is currently sold in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, in addition to the U.S.
As McKellar told WWD in March, the brand has been totally detached from Lauder's infrastructure, and Stila's American business, which comprises about 250 doors, is also going well.
"We're up 45 percent in retail sales in North America in total and 25 percent door-on-door," said McKellar in March. The brand is in Bloomingdale's, Sephora, Holt Renfrew, Anthropologie, The Studio at Fred Segal and a number of indie boutiques, as well as on QVC. McKellar said in March the brand was "seeing double-digit growth in France; we've just entered Spain, and Korea and Japan are both strong. By the end of the year Korea will probably surpass Japan, which is a huge market for us."
The brand also will be present at New York's upcoming fashion week, doing makeup for the Marchesa show on Wednesday, Sept. 5.
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