NEW YORK — Former cast member of “The Real Housewives of New York City” Cindy Barshop couldn’t believe her eyes when she visited the depilatory aisle at her local drugstore.
This story first appeared in the June 15, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“It was outdated and there were no innovation,” said Barshop, founder of Completely Bare spas. “It was the same stuff that had been there for years.”
She decided to do something about it: A retail line of Completely Bare is slated to launch in CVS Pharmacy this July. Barshop teamed with business partner Alicia Nussdorf and Quality King, a distributor with sales exceeding $1 billion. Completely Bare, now a sister company to Quality King, has the infrastructure to compete against the big powers in the category, which include Coty’s Sally Hansen, Church & Dwight’s Nair and Reckitt Benckiser’s Veet.
Barshop also has a well-waxed leg up on the competition, thanks to celebrity status from “The Real Housewives of New York City” and her enterprise of four hair removal salons, which have made the Vajewel the latest in accessories.
Barshop aims to bring salon quality to mass, especially for teenagers who are interested in painless and safe hair removal. “Everybody shops at CVS, and now they can experience the transformative results Completely Bare offers. This hip, modern product line represents a new direction for the depilatory market,” Barshop said.
With Americans removing unwanted strands from more places than ever, hair removal is becoming a booming business. Nussdorf, citing numbers from Euromonitor International, said hair removal sales are on track to hit $1.23 billion in 2012 and expand to $1.3 billion in 2013. Bleaches add in about another $200 million in sales.
Barshop anticipates the products will play well with sports enthusiasts, teenagers, the gay community and underserved ethnic markets. “This is going to be a game changer,” she said, adding that the portability of several of the items — such as the no-heat strips — allow for travel. “You can throw these in your suitcase or camp bag,” she said.
To reach targeted markets, Completely Bare will use social media to promote the launch. A QR code located on the product package links to a how-to video tutorial, the first of its kind on the market, according to the company. A Completely Bare specialist will answer wax-related questions with a 24-hour timeline and a training DVD is in the works for beauty advisers.
The CVS lineup includes three at-home wax kits — the Hypo-Allergenic Wax Strips for Face, Bikini, Body; the Salon Quality Face and Other Sensitive Areas Wax Kit, and the Salon Quality Bikini and Body Wax Kit. Each kit retail for under $17.
Also launching online at cvs.com are Completely Bare pre-and post-wax essentials with names such as Not Feeling It Numbing and Cooling Spray, Don’t Grow There Tri-Complex Body Balm and Bikini Bump Blaster. Plans call for the line to roll out to additional retailers in the fall.