NEW YORK — Breaking into the mass-market color cosmetics business is not for the faint of heart. Even powerful players have tried to introduce new color brands and failed — Procter & Gamble Co.’s Olay brand, and Revlon’s Vital Radiance and Jane Cosmetics, which at one point was owned by the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc.
Against the odds, the up-and-coming brand E.l.f. Cosmetics (Eyes. Lips. Face.) is gaining traction by taking the road less traveled. The brand launched online first and is building its retail business.
“We’re disruptive because we do things differently,” said E.l.f. founder and chief executive officer Joseph Shamah.
Industry sources estimate that E.l.f. is about a $50 million business, and roughly 70 percent of its sales are generated in stores. It counts Target and Walgreens among its retail partners. E.l.f. Studio, which is positioned as a professional makeup artist line, will be featured in an exclusive department at a Walgreens set to open in Hollywood.
Next year could prove to be the real test of Shamah’s disruptive course. The company plans to unleash its largest collection of new items to date: 144 stockkeeping units across a number of new categories. The brand also is looking to expand beyond Target and Walgreens to other discount and drugstore and even food chains. In some cases, the brand aims to gain a foothold with new retailers with seasonal programs. The company’s close ties to the apparel business through Shamah’s family also enabled E.l.f. to distribute its color products in stores such as Forever 21, Urban Outfitters and Ross.
The brand is moving full-throttle ahead, said retail executives, with an arsenal including more nail color — holiday gift sets with 15 colors for $15 — new eye shadow quads, “chubby” lip stains, an eye refresh item with a roller ball and potentially BB creams and other corrective skin care.
E.l.f. also remains committed to e-commerce. Its digital effort allows for deep product assortments that stores can’t accommodate, said Shawn Haynes, vice president of retail sales. The devoted E.l.f. consumers serve as a “test” market to identify the biggest hits, which can roll out to stores, he said. For instance, Studio Mascara & Shadow Shield — an item so hot that one can’t even be found in E.l.f.’s New York showroom — was a hit online first. The tool is held below the eye during makeup application to reduce smudges and shadow overflow. Other items aiding online sales included baked eye shadow palettes, High Definition Blush and Mineral Primers in the Studio line.
In the same vein, E.l.f.’s online business can sift out failures and eliminate them quickly instead of having a flop in stores.
While e-commerce provides a testing ground, Shamah doesn’t believe it detracts from demand in stores. “It is a different consumer online and for those who like the products in the store, they can go online to find more of our items. We have thousands of stockkeeping units online,” he said.
The majority of price points range from $1 to $3, but E.l.f. has been able to trade consumers up to its Studio line priced at $6.
However, Shamah said the moderate price points inspire more multiple sales. “If retailers ask, ‘Aren’t the lower prices driving dollars down,’ we can show that people buy more and build a bigger basket,” he said. Shamah said one retailer moves four times the pieces of E.l.f. than many other makeup brands producing inventory turns for the line that are at least twice the industry average.
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye