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Jouer Aims to Be Beauty’s Little Black Dress

Christina Zilber launched cosmetics line Jouer in 2004 with unique interlocking packaging, but she admitted it's not quite the right package all together.

Christina Zilber launched cosmetics line Jouer in 2004 with unique interlocking packaging, but she admitted it’s not quite the right package all together.

“Pretty quickly after I put it on the market, I wanted packaging that expressed who I am,” she said. “If I were walking into a store, I would want something sophisticated, innovative and simple that addresses treatment needs.”

Zilber embarked on a full-scale reinvention and expansion of Los Angeles-based Jouer, previously around 54 stockkeeping units housed in white plastic — intended to emulate mother-of-pearl and enhance makeup portability with attachable components. Launched at Henri Bendel officially Aug. 7, the revamped line is up to 115 sku’s so customers can achieve their entire look with Jouer, and now has an elegant color scheme of chocolate brown, champagne and soft pink, and relies upon connectivity when appropriate.

“This is like the little black dress of beauty,” said Zilber, who described the makeup preferences of a prototypical Jouer customer as “soft, natural and pretty….The whole goal is mistake-proof makeup and easy-to-use colors….A lot of lines are theatrical, but that is not us. It is really about earth tones. I am not going to do crazy blues.”

Among the new product entrants are powder eye shadow in 16 shades, mineral powder blush in six shades, mineral face powder in three shades, moisture tint in four shades with SPF 20, five brushes, lipstick in 12 shades, eye definer in five shades, brow definer in three shades, brow gel, lip definer in six shades and a lip conditioning treatment called Essential Lip Enhancer that Zilber predicted would be one of the line’s stars.

Jouer’s other standout products could come from its age-repairing collection initially comprising three items: Perfector foundation in 10 shades, eye brightener in three shades and concealer in six shades. The age-repairing products are formulated with a so-called Dermaxyl complex to combat signs of aging and stress; vitamins A and E play prominent roles as well.

Connectivity remains critical to Jouer, and the bulk of the line’s items can be linked through side tracks and back pegs, although Zilber is cautious not to let that packaging feature be the motivation for the entire line. Without the connectivity requirement, Zilber has flexibility to add products and delve into different categories. “We didn’t want to be limited,” she said. “It is really a tall task to eliminate the makeup bag. A couple of years ago, that may have been my goal, but now it is not.”

In the renovated line, products a woman generally uses individually like lipstick or leaves in her bathroom — brushes, eye definers or tints to name a few — are not attachable. However, women can tailor palettes by snapping and sliding together an array of shadows, blushes and lip glosses, for instance, that can effortlessly fit in their purses.

Claudia Lucas, senior vice president and general merchandise manager at Henri Bendel, recently configured her Jouer palette to include three powders, six eye shadows, lip gloss and mascara, which she said is perfect for traveling. “I love how you can customize it for your own personal needs,” she said. “People still react to newness and innovation, and a product that has an authentic approach. A new makeup artist brand wouldn’t feel new because it is not a new idea. They have tried to think about color cosmetics from a new perspective.”

Jouer’s retail prices range from $14 to $65. Zilber projected the line will generate $180,000 in sales during its six-month exclusive run at Henri Bendel, but subsequent sales will depend on upcoming distribution deals. To enhance retail presence geographically, the brand is targeting department stores and specialty retailers on the West Coast for growth in the near term.