Channel Surfing

Estee Lauder's BeautyBank is heading to TV to reinvent its distribution strategy.

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Estée Lauder’s BeautyBank is heading to TV to reinvent its distribution strategy. Eyes by Design, a prestige-priced makeup and treatment line created specifically for HSN, launches in July and adds a new selling outlet for the division, previously only in department and specialty stores. Industry sources said the assortment could do $15 million in retail sales by its third year.

This story first appeared in the May 2, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Citing what was described as “a transformational moment” in the evolution of the cosmetics industry, the BeautyBank division of Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. has shifted direction once again by teaming up with HSN to create a prestige-priced makeup and treatment line solely dedicated to the eye area.

Dubbed Eyes by Design, the line will be sold exclusively on HSN and both companies hope the collection will reinvigorate that category.

Jane Hudis, president and founder of BeautyBank, said, “Research showed that the eye category is where women lack the greatest confidence — they want to experiment and play around but don’t have the confidence to do so.” She added that the objective was to allow women to experiment in the comfort of their own homes.

Hudis also sees this as a pivotal time for the industry, especially in terms of retailing. Companies are shifting in their thinking from being “distribution-centric to consumer-centric,” she asserted.

In an effort to simplify and help take the guesswork out of applying makeup, BeautyBank created a highly edited assortment of 17 items that will be sold on HSN and hsn.com starting the week of July 6. It will be marketed for women age 25 and older. The launch will coincide with HSN’s anniversary programming, which features launches and new brands during July. With Shape’s executive style director Jacqui Stafford as the brand’s on-air guest, Eyes by Design will air for over four hours in total over a three-day period.

While executives would not comment on numbers, industry sources speculate that Eyes by Design is expected to reach $15 million in retail sales by its third year.

From an online survey of almost 2,000 women age 23 to 59, research showed that 91 percent of women agreed with the statement “when their eyes look great, they feel great,” said Julie Howard, BeautyBank’s senior vice president of global marketing and brand development.

Price points of most products will range from $16.95 for an eye pencil to $34.95 for a four-brush set or the Transforming Eye Cream. In addition, there will be three separate makeup sets — a Discovery Set, Maximizing Makeup Set and Ultimate Eye Set — retailing from $34.95 up to $69.95. To help consumers apply the products, an instructional booklet has been created that is included with the Transforming Eye Palette. There also will be demonstrations from the on-air shows on the Web site, demonstrating how to use individual products. The Web video will illustrate how to use the individual products as well as how to achieve specific looks with them.

“People want specialization and concepts that they can wrap their hands around,” said Hudis.

BeautyBank executives feel that selling products on TV can help the brand reach a broad audience at any given moment. HSN claims it reaches 90 million households.

Due to the transformational nature of HSN, the retailer has moved beyond TV and the Internet to be a more multimedia, 360-degree lifestyle platform, said Mindy Grossman, chief executive officer of IAC Retailing at Barry Diller’s IAC/InterActiveCorp, which owns HSN. According to Grossman, HSN is one of the 10 top retail trafficked sites, estimated to have a quarter million beauty vistors every day. The site also has another quarter million new visitors daily.

“Created in conjunction with all the knowledge from HSN and its consumers, we created a brand specifically designed for this channel, rather than taking a brand and fitting it into its distribution channels,” said Grossman. “We have the ability to tell the story in real time, in addition to allowing consumers to access it in their own time.”

Grossman feels that the days are over when retailers can help influence and direct consumers on where to go to purchase products, since consumers are in the driver’s seat.

As part of the Web platform, there will also be an online Web turtorial, podcasts and visual buying guide. Additionally, there will be a direct mail piece that will go out to over 35 million women, and a presence in HSN’s monthly programming guide, which is sent to more than 2.3 million households each month.


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