By  on December 14, 2012

When asked for a one-word description of Claudia Poccia, makeup artist Laura Mercier’s answer is immediate. “Claudia is my fairy godmother,” she declares. “She makes things happen.” Mercier knows whereof she speaks. Since Poccia was named president and chief executive officer of Gurwitch Products in early 2011, sales of Laura Mercier and RéVive have outpaced overall market growth by a factor of three globally. In addition, Poccia has inked a deal with Project Runway All Stars to become the show’s official makeup sponsor, and set up the Laura Mercier Ovarian Cancer Fund, which since its inception in September has donated an initial $100,000 to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. With experience ranging from running Stila after its acquisition by the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. to overseeing Avon’s youth-oriented Mark brand, Poccia has become adept at catapulting entrepreneurial brands into beauty’s big leagues.

What is your assessment of 2012, and what opportunities are you looking to most in the year ahead?
In terms of 2012, it was another strong year for us in beauty, in terms of innovation, product proposition and the continuing evolution of the shopping experience and the consumer experience across multiple channels. As I look at 2013, the excitement comes from that opportunity of becoming a consumer-centric experience and providing that through both of our brands. What I mean by that is not just taking all the great things we’re doing in social and digital but bringing some of those elements to the in-store experience so that it’s very holistic. The consumer is telling us that is what she expects. I was in Paris at our counter at Le Bon Marché. I speak very little French, but the counter was filled with people, so I thought I better help. I got behind the counter and thought, “We’re in trouble.” But a customer from Japan held up her smartphone, and we shopped through her smartphone. She had pictures of the products she wanted, which made it easy for me to pull them for her. She had clearly researched these products. We really leveraged high tech to deliver that high touch that we all talk about.

Why is high touch so important to the consumer today?

There is this level of intimacy and kinship in that exchange. That is unique, and you can’t replace that.

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