The Kardashians: The Beauty Biz

When it comes to beauty products, the Kardashian clan is proving it has serious sales muscle.

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When it comes to beauty products, the Kardashian clan is proving it has serious sales muscle.

This story first appeared in the October 10, 2011 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

“The whole Kardashian-Jenner brand is growing incredibly fast,” said Philip Zellner, chief executive officer of Lighthouse Beauty, which produces scents with Kim, Khloé and Khloé’s husband, Lamar Odom. “I believe it hasn’t peaked yet, partially because of the depth of the family. With so many individuals being involved, it brings in so many different audiences — with the youngest sisters being in their teens, and the three older girls in their 20s and 30s.”

Sources peg the total Kardashian scent empire at about $50 million a year at retail.

“There is a continued growth pattern emerging, and as each new category is introduced, it helps all the other branded categories,” he added. “What I believe makes the Kardashians so intriguing is they are in the public eye in a very exposed way — everyone who watches and reads about them feels like they know them, that they’re part of their family. There is an aspirational aspect that the consumer looks up to, as well as the day-to-day drama.”

To date, Lighthouse Beauty has launched four Kardashian fragrances: three under Kim Kardashian’s name and one under Khloé Kardashian’s and Odom’s.

Kim’s namesake fragrance, which launched in February 2010, has notes of jasmine, tuberose, gardenia, tonka bean, jacaranda wood and sandalwood. Eaux de parfum sprays — 1 oz. for $35, 1.7 oz. for $50 and 3.4 oz. for $65 — are available, as is a 0.33-oz. rollerball for $16.

A second scent, a limited edition project called Kim Kardashian Gold, launched last spring at Macy’s and kardashianfragrance.com. The scent has top notes of Italian bergamot, grapefruit and spicy pink peppercorn, a heart of lush jasmine, delicate rose and dewy violet and a drydown of patchouli, sandalwood, amber, creamy benzoin and musk. Housed in a sleek gold bottle with black accents, the eau de parfum is available in two sizes: 1 oz. for $35 and 3.4 oz. for $65.

Unbreakable by Khloé and Lamar, a unisex fragrance, has notes of nutmeg, bergamot, orange, geranium, jasmine, dark chocolate, cedarwood, amber, sandalwood and musk. The clear glass bottle is emblazoned with the fragrance’s name and a graphic inspired by a tattoo the couple shares of their first initials, and contains an architectural conical cap. A 3.4-oz. eau de toilette spray for $45 and a 1-oz. spray for $30,which launched in Perfumania stores in February, will by yearend be available in about 2,500 doors.

Zellner noted that Lighthouse did a 1,000-piece limited edition run of the scent Kim Kardashian Love this summer. Numbered 1 to 1,000, the first 200 were given as gifts to guests at Kim’s August wedding to New Jersey Nets forward Kris Humphries; the remainder sold out on the brand’s Web site in a week, said Zellner. The $100 scent opens with top notes of sparkling red currant, pink freesia and star jasmine; has a heart of French mimosa, rare Egyptian tuberose and rose absolute orpur, and a drydown of sensual musk, creamy sandalwood, and orris butter.

Zellner noted that while Kim and Khloé have overlapping fan bases with similar consumers buying both scents, “Lamar brings in a whole other audience — men and NBA fans — which expands the base. And we’re finding that some of the new consumers buying Khloé and Lamar’s fragrance are also buying Kim’s scents.”

And, he added, “Kardashian is the type of brand that can afford to be everywhere — we’re not concerned about overexposure.”

To that end, Zellner’s marketing plans for the fragrances reach from prestige department stores to mass-market outlets, with bottle size basically determining the outlet — smaller bottles in the mass market, larger bottles in prestige distribution.

He’s also preparing a fourth scent with Kim, expected to launch early next year, and he’s speaking to Kourtney Kardashian about creating a scent with her moniker. Kim’s scent is also growing in international distribution, said Zellner. It is currently sold in the U.K., the Middle East, Australia and Canada, among other markets.

“The Kardashians have a work ethic that is quite extraordinary,” said Zellner. “They travel 24/7 to support their brands, and they are very involved in the development process — from the creation of an idea to what the bottle looks like and what the juice smells like, and the decision-making with the distribution. They are bright and marketing-savvy. A lot of celebrities get involved with striking a deal and not getting behind a brand once it’s launched. That is not true of the Kardashians.”

And the Kardashian hand in beauty isn’t limited to fragrances. For holiday 2011, Nicole by OPI, now owned by Coty Inc., is launching a 14-stockkeeping unit line called Kardashian Kolors. Each female Kardashian is represented in the lineup, with colors like Kim-pletely in Love (a blush pink), All Kendall-ed Up (a bright fuchsia), Wear Something Spar-Kylie (a sparkly mid-tone pink), Sealed with a Kris (a bright red), Khloé Had a Little Lam-Lam (a deep dark emerald) and Hard Kourt Fashionista (a deep brown). Each will retail for $7.99.

Kim, Khloé and Kourtney also are involved with skin care. Together with Dr. Ron DiSalvo, senior scientist for Perfect Science Labs, the sisters helped develop a three-step skin care system called PerfectSkin. It is designed to work for all skin types — according to the company, Kim’s skin is dry and sensitive; Khloé’s skin is oily and prone to acne breakouts and Kourtney has combination-to-slightly oily skin. A 30-day supply sells for $29.95 and is carried at perfectskinnow.com.

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