QVC’s Big Guns Turn Out to Tout

Founders and ceos of beauty companies that have been featured on the channel manned booths trade-show-style at Manhattan’s Milk Studios.

In an effort to hold its own in the ongoing TV beauty wars, QVC wrangled a herd of beauty royalty to tout its brands at Manhattan’s Milk Studios Friday morning, where founders and chief executive officers manned booths trade-show-style. The powerfest included celebrity makeup artist Mally Roncal, Bare Escentuals executive chairman Leslie Blodgett, skin care expert Peter Thomas Roth, Dr. Nicholas Perricone, Dr. Dennis Gross, celebrity makeup artist Laura Geller, model and beauty maven Josie Maran and celebrity hairstylist Chaz Dean, among others, all of whom told their respective brands’ stories, how QVC plays a pivotal role in their business strategies and, of course, all about their new products.

This story first appeared in the March 7, 2011 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Claudia Lucas, director, beauty merchandising for QVC, said the effort was necessary since many people only get a glimpse of a brand’s offerings, and many don’t know the range of brands it offers.

“Because we don’t have a store, you often don’t see all of our content. This [event] gives you our range of diversity and breadth of assortment,” said Lucas. She added that on-air TV selling is just part of QVC’s business, which also has bustling online sales as well as mobile and iPad applications.

QVC, apparently, serves many different needs, depending on the brand.

Hair care brand Living Proof, for example, launched on QVC in late 2008, and due to the on-air success of its frizz-fighting formulas, found itself in Sephora just months later. Rob Robillard, ceo of Living Proof, said QVC allows his brand to be in front of 80 million customers and, more important, to hone its marketing message.

“We can figure out the one sentence that makes the calls go through the roof and use that at retail,” Robillard said.

Bliss ceo Mike Indursky said QVC allows the brand to relay “the latest technological advancements from aestheticians around the world,” as well as offer consumers the opportunity to experience Bliss if there’s no Bliss at a spa nearby. It also allows him, he said, to launch a “re-education on the credibility of spa.”

Josie Maran, who just won QVC’s rising star award, said QVC allows her to tell the story behind her brand and its ingredients, which all focus around argan oil. She said she is considering making an infomercial later this year for broadcast in 2012.

Others, such as CellCeuticals, an antiaging skin care line than started as an infomercial and then was brought on to QVC, thinks its on-air sales success will likely open doors to retail this year. “We are collecting information from QVC customers” on everything from what they think about the product, what they want from skin care and who the demographic is that’s most interested in the brand,” said the CellCeuticals’ founder, Dr. Garth Fisher.

Competition among brands is present. Makeup artist Laura Geller said hers is now the second largest color brand, in terms of sales, on QVC, behind Bare Escentuals. She was at the media event hawking some of her latest products, including a new air-whipped blush, which, unlike other mousse blushes, is shimmer-free.

And of course QVC is known for launching new brands. Its latest is Philosophy Divine Illumination, a new color line created as an extension of Philosophy’s skin care range, which includes everything from foundation to powder to blush to liners to lip gloss and lipstick. Philosophy Divine is exclusive to QVC and is slated to debut March 28. In addition to this, QVC showcased a growing category at the event — beauty technology — highlighting several new technologies for at-home use, including University Medical’s Ion-Infusion Eye Renewal System, PaloVia At Home Skin Renewing Laser System and Tria Skin Clarifying System.