Critical Mass: Kiss Products’ Latest Touch

Everlasting Gel Polish is attracting the attention of mass retailers, who continue to tout the staying power of the do-it-yourself nail gel segment.

Everlasting Gel Polish is from Kiss Products.

NEW YORK — The already sizzling nail gel category got another boost when First Lady Michelle Obama flashed her gel-covered talons — painted in a shade called Vogue by Artistic Colour Gloss — during her speech at the Democratic National Convention earlier this month.

This story first appeared in the September 21, 2012 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

A line from another company is now attracting the attention of mass retailers, who continue to tout the staying power of the do-it-yourself nail gel segment. The new line, called Everlasting Gel Polish is from Kiss Products.

One leading drugstore chain buyer said Kiss brings a great reputation and keen price point to the category, which is selling briskly.

“Our heritage in the nail business, especially the artificial business, helps our launch stand out,” said Grace Tallon, senior vice president marketing at Kiss. The company is riding high from the launch of a gel-like press-on nail earlier this year called imPRESS. “We want to keep the momentum high, bring salon product to the home and support with advertising,” Tallon added.

The lineup will be available in stores by December to take advantage of holiday demand, she said.

Everlasting Gel Polish will join other at-home gel products, including Red Carpet Manicure, Sally Hansen’s InstaGel Strips and Salon GelPolish and Pacific World’s SensatioNail. The total gel market is estimated at $2.6 billion, which includes both salon and home application. Buyers estimate there’s an opportunity to net as much as 40 percent of the business in retail sales.

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Kiss’ offer includes an LED light, which is sold separately, unlike some competitors that bundle the light. “We decided to sell the light separately since some people already have one,” said Tallon. The collection includes a top gel, a base gel, a prep and cleanse, gel polish in 15 shades, a color polish kit and a French manicure kit. Kiss contends it is the only option on the market with a patented French wrap that is applied to the tip to easily create the French manicure look instead of manually drawing the line.

Tallon believes the nails also solve one of the biggest issues with the gels — removal. Because there is not a primer in the regimen, the nails can be removed with traditional remover. Retailers said some women have been turned off by the kits because of the difficulty of removing the gels.

Buyers said they plan to carry at least two different gel brands as consumers experiment with the gel-at-home craze. In many cases, space is being pared from implements to accommodate the new gel entries. Buyers equate the flood of new gels with the race to dominate the mineral makeup business a few years ago or, more recently, the BB cream race.