Walgreen Co.'s globe-trotting has unearthed another exclusive brand.
The drugstore chain will make room in its 6,500 stores for The Face Shop, a South Korean-born beauty brand and retailer.
Beginning in August, Walgreens will offer 10 different facial mask treatments from The Face Shop.
In doing so, Walgreens gives the five-year-old retailer a foothold in nearly every market across the U.S.
The exclusive deal grew out of a six-month test in which Walgreens sold an assortment of The Face Shop's product in 65 doors across Washington and Oregon, where Walgreens' stores are heavily trafficked by Asian shoppers.
Referring to the test, Michelle Hobson, manager of strategic business development for beauty, said, "It validated it was worth it to roll out The Face Shop in both Asian markets and general market stores."
The Face Shop broadens Walgreens' international offering, a merchandising initiative it began in earnest with the unveiling of its European Beauty Collection — an assortment of seven premium-priced skin care lines — in fall 2006. Soon after, it added Yes To Carrots, a natural skin and hair care line from Tel Aviv.
Hobson said Walgreens began searching for an Asian beauty line at the request of a district manager in the Northwest, who wanted to meet the needs of the region's Asian consumers.
Walgreens turned to Nick Hudson, co-founder of Excelsior Beauty, the beauty marketing firm that sourced the brands for Walgreens' European Beauty Collection. Hudson suggested the retailer consider The Face Shop, and arranged a meeting with the two companies at the sprawling Comsoprof trade show in Bologna, Italy, in April 2007.
To introduce U.S. consumers to facial masks, which are widely used in Asia, Walgreens' beauty departments will feature samples and a video loop of The Face Shop treatment, explaining how the serum-soaked sheets work and their benefits.
Outside the stores, The Face Shop plans to distribute one million free face masks in shopping malls and at beaches, parks, universities and festivals, said Tommy Kim, executive vice president and chief operating officer at The Face Shop. He noted that The Face Shop sells more than one million masks each month in South Korea alone. The retailer has more than 900 stores in 19 countries in Asia, and generates $500 million in annual revenues, said Kim.Hobson said longer-term, Walgreens may decide to expand its 65 "pocket departments" of The Face Shop products in the Washington and Oregon stores, which are stocked with about 60 skin care items, including cleansers and toners, to strong beauty markets like New York, Las Vegas and San Francisco.
She noted Walgreens plans to make some minor updates of its European Beauty Collection display, which includes weeding out some underperforming items to make room for colorful graphics.
For its part, The Face Shop entered the U.S. market in 2005, opening a branded boutique in Manhattan, which it has since shuttered. To date, the retailer has a total of four stand-alone boutiques in the U.S. located in Queens, N.Y.; Palisades Park, N.J.; Chicago, and Santa Clara, Calif. The company is scouting out real estate for additional stores, and plans to open two more California doors this year, and about four additional units next year.
The Face Shop has also taken to the airwaves. The company's premium skin care range, White Tree, recently appeared on HSN.
“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