As he expands his Blow brand into additional doors, founder and president Stuart Sklar hopes to create a trend: wet and dry styling bars on mainstream department store beauty floors.
By yearend, there will be five department and specialty store Blow outposts in the U.S., at Macy’s Herald Square and at Nordstrom doors in Newport Beach, Calif.’s Fashion Island; Chicago; Roseville, Calif. and Los Angeles’ The Grove. By yearend 2014, Sklar expects to open an additional nine outposts in retailer doors. In most cases, the outposts are slated to offer both wet and dry styling. Sklar has just done a soft launch on Macy’s Herald Square’s redesigned beauty floor, with a formal opening expected to follow in a few weeks.
Sklar declined comment on sales projections for the retailer outposts, although industry sources estimated each outpost could generate $250,000 to $500,000 yearly in service and products sales, depending on location.
“This is one-stop beauty shopping,” said Sklar, who founded Blow in 2005 as the latest step in a beauty career spent at L’Oréal, Avon and Coty. “This is a new concept in department stores and will increase the hair-care category in department stores. We are partnering with the retailer to provide an experience.” At the retailer outposts, customers can choose one of four express styles — a beachy blowout, one which adds volume, another offering a sleek finish and a fourth with braids — for $20 each. For $50, chignons, buns, ponytails and twists can be had.
Blow began with a freestanding location in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District, expanded into a product line in 2008 and in 2010 opened BlowPro Academy, devoted to teaching aspiring stylists the art of the blowout. The educational bent continues to the consumer level; the brand offers step-by-step photo cards for each of the styling products with techniques on how to use them to achieve a polished, finished look. “Our aim is to demystify the whole blowout process,” said Sklar.
The product line has expanded to 32 stockkeeping units since its inception — 22 full-sized sku’s and 10 travel sizes. The products, which are all intended to maximize the performance of a blowout, are broken down into four families — Clean + Nourish, which includes sulfate- and paraben-free shampoos and conditioners; Prep + Style, which is intended to prime and protect hair before styling tools are used; Finish + Refresh, which is intended to seal the style and extend the longevity of the blowout, and Try + Travel, which offers several products from the first three collections in carryon-friendly sizes. Overall, the sku’s range in price from $8 to $22.
The most recent introduction is Textstyle, a dry texture spray which launched this month. A 5.6-oz. can retails for $19.75; the 2-oz. travel size is $9.50. Products are sold in about 800 doors, including 500 Ulta doors, HSN and blowpro.com. Sklar noted the brand would probably enter another 50 Ulta doors in 2014.
In October, Superdrug in the U.K. will begin carrying the products, said Sklar, who added that he eventually hopes to add Blow service outposts with the British retailer.
Sklar plans to add antiaging stylers to the mix in spring. “Blowdrying is often blamed for damaging hair, but we will turn it into friendly heat,” he said.
While Sklar refused to discuss numbers, industry sources estimated that Blow’s retail sales would top $10 million by yearend 2014, a number that includes the brand’s sales in specialty retail, professional salons, e-commerce and HSN. Sources also estimated that Blow could grow as much as 25 percent in sales by yearend 2014, given retailer expansion and additional product introductions. Sklar has also inked a deal with Virgin Hotels to provide amenities.
“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