By  on January 23, 2014

OPI held a luncheon Tuesday at Bistro Garden in Studio City, Calif., to formally introduce the local beauty media to Mary van Praag, who became the Coty Inc.-owned nail polish brand’s general manager this month.

Her appointment follows the retirement of OPI’s founder and former chief executive officer George Schaeffer.

After poking fun of his new position as strategic board adviser (“I don’t know what board,” he cracked), Schaeffer’s tone turned serious while he explained that van Praag’s role at OPI will be a challenging one.

“What I would love Mary to do is get completely enmeshed into the professional market. I think Coty lives in the world of mass, and they don’t understand the professional market as well,” Schaeffer said. “Mary’s job will be to steer the brand so that it isn’t diminished in value, which means sacrificing sales sometimes in mass. You need to look at the long run and sacrifice in the short run to have a home run.”

Van Praag has set out to outline a three- to five-year plan to put OPI in position for future success. Among her early objectives are addressing diversion, priming the innovation pipeline, continuing to spread the brand globally and heightening OPI’s presence at upscale retail.

“Our brand looks good. It could look even better. You don’t want to be a commodity, whether it be in retail or at the salon,” said van Praag.

When it comes to nail polish trends, Suzi Weiss-Fischmann, OPI’s executive vice president and artistic director, predicted textured polishes would be strong throughout this year, and pointed to black and white hues gaining strength toward the end of the year heading into next year.

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