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Cosmoprof Catering to Key Buyers

With new spaces, events and concepts catered to retailers, Cosmoprof organizer Sogecos is shaking up the formula for this year's edition of the beauty fair...

Cosmoprof will run April 10 to 14

MILAN — With new spaces, events and concepts catered to retailers, Cosmoprof organizer Sogecos is shaking up the formula for this year’s edition of the beauty fair, which will open its doors April 10 to 14 in Bologna, Italy.

The 41-year-old event will be guided for the first time by chief executive officer Aureliana De Sanctis. Sogecos, which is owned by Bologna Fiere — which also owns the fairgrounds where Cosmoprof is held — named De Sanctis, who previously worked at L’Oréal and Gucci, its ceo in January 2007.

She entered the firm at a watershed time for Cosmoprof, following the departure of many big-name beauty brands and their sprawling exhibition booths. And, in order to fine-tune the fair’s structure, De Sanctis worked on new strategies and tactics for next month’s edition.

Spearheading the changes is an initiative to attract key beauty buyers from leading international retailers like Bergdorf Goodman, Selfridges, Galeries Lafayette and La Rinascente.

Dubbed “Trendscouting,” it aims to fast-track the fair’s offering by preselecting 30 to 40 new products and beauty lines intended to target each buyer’s needs. Buyers were sent packets containing information on the products and the brands earlier this month. Additionally, Sogecos arranged a three-day accommodation and flights package to Bologna for the show, as well as an extra night in Milan.

“We want to shape the fair’s offer tailor-made to them,” said De Sanctis. “This way, when they visit the show, they can be more efficient and see companies they haven’t spoken with before.”

Sogecos signed on 18 retailers and 33 packaging buyers for the Trendscouting program. Many buyers will visit Cosmoprof after not attending the show for several years, and viewed the trip as a chance to net a new, niche product.

“My last trip to Cosmoprof was three years ago,” said Claudia Lucas, senior vice president and general merchandise manager at Henri Bendel. “As a retailer, the challenge I had was finding products with a capacity for U.S. distribution. All of them seem focused on the Italian domestic market.”

After receiving a list of 40 to 50 product vendors from Sogecos, Lucas acknowledged, “I’m quite excited about going, there seems to be a lot more niche and specialty product ideas and ones I am interested in seeing.”

Ed Burstell, senior vice president and gmm of beauty, jewelry and accessories at Bergdorf Goodman, will also attend the show on the hunt for new and niche brands. He praised the Trendscouting program, and called it a “thoroughly modern approach” to the beauty business.

Beauty buyers from the U.K. hope to return to London from the Trendscouting program with something new. “It’s worth going, talking to the other retailers, sharing information and seeing what’s out there,” said Tracy Van Heusden, perfume and cosmetics buyer for Harvey Nichols.

A new section this year at Cosmoprof Bologna is called “In & Out — Perfumes & Pack & Co.,” and it is expected to be fertile ground for the Trendscouting program. It is set to be housed in halls 16-18 and 19-20, areas that unite packaging and the selective beauty offering under one roof. It is set to run April 10 to 13.

“We really believe in this unification because it makes the fair’s offer more coherent,” De Sanctis said.

“In & Out — Perfumes & Pack & Co.” will also host Masterpieces, Cosmoprof’s niche perfume and cosmetics hall that boasts 100 brands this edition. To appease a waiting list of brands looking to exhibit in Masterpieces, De Sanctis created an avenue of 15 extra booths flanking the space.

Sogecos is also looking to create spin-off events outside of the Goliath trade show with a new concept called Cosmo Off — collaborating with some of the city’s locales for wine tasting — and dishes that purport antiaging qualities.

The new-look Cosmoprof will propel the beauty trade show to the top of its game, De Sanctis asserted. And what of those big-name beauty brands not in attendance? “They’ll be back,” De Sanctis declared.