Makeup artist Sonia Kashuk is taking on the bath and body category with the same philosophy she had when she launched her exclusive cosmetics line for Target in 1999.
This story first appeared in the October 18, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“What I set out to do 15 years ago was bring luxury to mass,” said Kashuk, Target’s longest-standing design partner. “I didn’t want to be a one-hit wonder, I wanted to come back and do it again.”
For Christina Hennington, Target’s vice president of beauty and personal care, Kashuk’s move into body is one she believes filled a void. “We saw an opportunity for a quality fragrance-based bath and body line in our channel,” she said. “The white space is the complexity [of the fragrances], the sensorial feel, that’s what we felt was missing from our class of trade especially at this price point.”
Launching on Nov. 10, Kashuk’s collection, comprised of 24 products within four scent families, is priced between $4.99, for a loofah, and $19.99, for an eau de toilette. The line includes items like cream body wash, body butter, body oil, product organizers and shower accessories and is formulated with ingredients like edelweiss flower, cottonseed and apricot oils. “The line will be on front-end cap in most stores. It will be very disruptive in terms of presentation,” said Hennington. “The bath and body category is a very relevant segment of the entire beauty experience for consumers. It’s a bit of escapism. It will always be relevant for women.”
To create the fragrances, Kashuk partnered with Jerome Epinette of Robertet and worked with Buero New York for the flower-bedecked, color-coded packaging, meant to “dance off the shelves. I’m so passionate and neurotic about presentation, about how something looks,” Kashuk said. “When I launched my [color] line it caused a lot of mass beauty players to reassess — relook at design — and I’m grateful to be an instigator, to make the big companies pay attention to upping the ante and not disregard mass with a negative play.”
The four scents — Pink Innocencia, Purple Seductia, Yellow Alluriana and Red Promisia — were meant to be universally appealing and not overly fragrant, according to Kashuk. “I was basically staying away from cucumber melon — that was the ongoing internal joke,” she said.
Kashuk said entering the bath and body category is a move toward carving out a curated niche for herself within Target’s 1,879 stores in the U.S. and Canada. “At this stage I really see [my business] as a lifestyle beauty brand and I’m pushing Target to [become] a store in a store, so I can maintain that boutique sense in this big box,” said Kashuk. “As much as I blurred that line as the first makeup-artist brand to go into Target, there is opportunity for a number of other categories that could fit in.”
Target will be promoting the launch with initiatives including Target’s first scent-strip consumer advertising and a pop-up shop in Grand Central Terminal on Nov. 4. The 20-foot-tall outpost will feature all of the bath and body products, including a “living” installation showcasing a model in a bathtub filled with bubbles.
“The pop-up is something Target does for big ideas, and this is the first time doing it exclusively for Sonia,” said Hennington.
Looking to the future of beauty at Target, Hennington said guests can expect constant improvements, with additional news come spring. “We are continuing to work on upgrading the in-store experience, continuing to introduce brands that you can’t find elsewhere and other opportunities [to upgrade] our assortment, with service not found in the value channel.”
Hennington added that Target’s Beauty Concierge strategy, which will place “agnostic beauty brand advisers” in about 300 stores by the fourth quarter, will continue to expand. “We have the potential of this reaching about 400 [advisers] — but how we deliver a similar experience through digital in more stores is something we are continually evaluating,” she said.