MAC Cosmetics is determined to conquer a new continent — Africa — by entering a trio of new countries and planning a three-year strategy to build business.
The brand will open its first freestanding store in Lagos, Nigeria, on Saturday, on the heels of launching other units in Zambia in December and Botswana in early January.
The Lagos store, which the company is doing in partnership with Essenza Co., will be located in the Ikeja City Mall. A second MAC store is planned for The Palms Mall in Lagos later this year, and within three years, the city may be home to as many as five MAC stores. The capital city of Abuja will be next, followed by Nairobi, both within the first three years MAC is in Nigeria, noted Karen Buglisi, global brand president for MAC Cosmetics. “Each market we enter will have to have the ability to support multiple stores,” she said. RELATED STORY: MAC to Open Paris Flagship >>
While MAC has been successful in its 22 doors in South Africa for more than a dozen years, the untapped potential of sub-Saharan Africa was highlighted by William P. Lauder, executive chairman of the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. and MAC’s parent company, at the company’s annual shareholders meeting in November.
Nigeria is an especially attractive market given that it is the most populated country in Africa, with approximately 166.6 million residents, noted Buglisi. About 17 million people live in Lagos, and as a bonus, cosmetics consumers in Nigeria are very brand-loyal, she said.
As well, despite the fact that MAC isn’t yet sold in Nigeria, the brand has tremendous awareness from the wealthy Nigerians who purchase it in Paris, London and New York, Buglisi said.
“MAC has always been a trailblazer in emerging markets — India, Brazil and Turkey, for example,” said Buglisi. “We believe that the breadth of our product line, particularly in foundation shades, and our pricing will appeal to the Nigerian market, as well other African markets.” For instance, she noted, the brand’s Studio Fix Foundation is available in 50 shades, including very dark shades, and the formula is humidity-resistant. Visuals in the stores will feature black models.
Buglisi is also looking to install a resident trainer and a senior makeup artist, who will also serve as a media spokesman, in the market within the next 12 to 18 months; until then, employees from South Africa will get things set up.
“We will have a full menu of services,” she said, noting this has been true of each of the brand’s entries into emerging markets. “We want customers to be able to go to any market in the world and have a seamless service experience, and we will provide top-notch education to make this happen. We want to go in to Africa boldly and say, ‘We’re here.’”
“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