Pola Orbis Holdings Inc. has made management shifts in the U.S. to better position the Japanese beauty powerhouse to drive growth beyond its home country.
Robert F. Seidl, former chief executive officer and president of H20 Plus LLC, the first company ever to be acquired by Pola Orbis, has been appointed Pola Orbis’ chief global business strategy officer. He is moving from Chicago to New York to establish a new Pola Orbis corporate office that will oversee global expansion of the company’s brands and scout possible acquisition targets.
“New York City is obviously the global center for the beauty industry, and it is important that Pola has a presence that is reflective of its position as the 20th-largest beauty company in the world,” said Seidl. “This will give the company the opportunity to get market exposure.”
Bill Colli will be joining Seidl in the New York office. Colli, previously senior vice president of sales and marketing at H20 Plus and vice president of global sales at Frédéric Fekkai, has been named Pola Orbis’ general manager, global business. Seidl will tap the beauty talent pool in New York to further build Pola Orbis’ global strategy team.
The management moves are indicative of Pola Orbis’ understanding that Japan exhibits scant growth potential, and it must look elsewhere if it wants to accelerate sales in the future. Seidl estimated that today international revenues constitute 7 to 10 percent of the company’s turnover, but the goal is to increase that figure to at least 20 percent by 2020.
“Kudos to a company like Pola that, after 80 years, recognizes that the world has changed and they need to adapt to a very changing business environment,” he said. “They have committed to expanding their reach outside of Japan.”
To amplify Pola Orbis’ worldwide penetration, Seidl will be responsible for outlining the global strategy for H20 Plus and Jurlique, which Pola Orbis acquired in 2011 for $91 million and in 2012 for 300 million Australian dollars, or about $314 million, respectively, as well as the company’s Japanese brands, notably Pola and Orbis. Seidl expects that Pola Orbis’ Japanese brands will be introduced to the U.S. by next year in prestige distribution.
In addition to the global expansion of current brands, Pola Orbis has made it clear it’s seeking to augment its business with more acquisitions. Seidl noted acquisitions are likely to remain within Pola Orbis’ skin-care wheelhouse but aren’t isolated to brands of a certain size. “The interest will be in brands that already are or have the ability to be global in nature,” he said.
With Seidl assuming a new post, a vacancy was created at H20 Plus. Seidl spearheaded the search for his replacement as the brand’s ceo and president and settled on Richard R. Ruffolo, who has spent more than two decades in the beauty industry. Among Ruffolo’s past jobs are ceo and president of consultancy R4 Innovations, executive vice president of Crabtree & Evelyn’s global business, senior vice president at Yankee Candle, vice president and general manager at Bath & Body Works and category director at S.C. Johnson.
“He is an absolutely great choice for us. He’s smart and energetic. He’s a good listener,” said Seidl. “He connects with people. At the end of the day, we are in a people business.”
Ruffolo, who described himself as a longtime admirer of H20 Plus, said he has high hopes for the brand. “It’s at a point now that, with great support from Pola Orbis, we want to double or triple the business over the next several years,” he said.
Ruffolo acknowledged that some of the foundation for his efforts has already been laid. H20 Plus recently repackaged and launched Total Source Night Cream, its debut product leveraging Pola Orbis’ antiaging know-how. The Total Source line will be enlarged soon with a day cream and a serum. “Of all our product lines, this is the most clinically tested, and we are really excited about the innovation it brings to the market,” said Ruffolo.
H20 Plus, which is based upon combining natural marine ingredients with advanced skin-care technology, has around 120 stockkeeping units priced roughly from $12 to $95 encompassing eight skin-care collections, including the best-selling hydration-oriented Oasis collection, and Ruffolo indicated the selection can be overwhelming. One of his missions is to get the brand to communicate in a straightforward manner to help consumers, especially those less familiar with H20 Plus, find which product is right for them.
“The brand continues to resonate with its core customers. The downside has been we haven’t been able to necessarily reach out and address some of the new folks coming into the market or people that are hearing from a lot of other brands,” said Ruffolo, adding, “The recent restage has created an opportunity to reengage with customers…That’s why we think over the next three to five years we have such an upside.”
H20 Plus is available at 2,400 prestige retail doors in 31 countries, and 60 percent of its sales are international. A major focus for Ruffolo will be to boost the brand’s distribution in the U.S. Internationally, he said, “we are seeing success already with our collections and how they address particular needs. At the same time, here in the U.S., we are never satisfied with the status quo. We think there is clearly opportunity. This business used to have much more retail presence in the U.S.”
There'll be no rest for those headed to Europe for men's, as Paris just closed the gap with Milan. According to a provisional calendar released by the Chambre Syndicale, Paris Men's Week will now open a day earlier on January 16. See new highlights on the official lineup on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
BREAKING: Jonathan Saunders is leaving @DVF. The designer has resigned from his position as chief creative officer of Diane von Furstenberg, the company said in a statement on Friday. At the time of his hire, von Furstenberg said Saunders’ arrival symbolized and facilitated her stepping back from the day-to-day duties that occupy the work of a full-time creative director. The British designer joined DVF in May 2016 and was in charge of all product categories. #wwdnews
For @versace_official’s spring ad campaign, the brand emphasized the archival prints from the spring tribute collection dedicated to the late Gianni Versace. Closing out the show were five of Gianni’s favorite models: Cindy, Naomi, Carla, Helena, and Claudia. Bowing on December 18, the new campaign is yet another tribute to supermodel-dom as the images by Steven Meisel are fronted by @iamnaomicampbell, @cturlington, @gisele and more. #wwdfashion
Four-time Oscar-nominated actress Annette Bening has been waiting 20 years to play Gloria Graham in "Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool," which will be released on December 29. The movie about Graham – a Hollywood star known for her controversial relationship with a younger Englishman named Peter Turner – is based off a memoir Turned wrote. "She felt vulnerable to him, because she loved him, she really did love him. And anyone that we really truly are in love with, we re vulnerable to in a very deep way," said Bening. Read our full interview with the modern icon of an actress on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @ninebagatelles; Styled by @cristinaehrlich)
The crisp white button down: a staple that can be dressed up or down and accessorized throughout the decades. Here, on a Art Basel-goer in 2017 on the left and on the iconic Audrey Hepburn in “Roman Holiday” in 1953 on the right. #tbt #wwdfashion (📷: Andrew Morales)
Known for her work with @victoriassecret, 25-year-old model @georgiafowler is raising her profile in Hollywood. Fowler stars in @vincecamuto’s holiday campaign, which launched in partnership with “Pitch Perfect 3.” “Almost every shoot with Vince Camuto, I’ve had to face a fear…It was definitely a challenge. I’m so grateful for it, though. I’ve always wanted to be a pop star, so that was the perfect chance,” Fowler said. Head to WWD.com to read about Fowler’s experience modeling, including at the #VSFashionShow, and her relationship with Nick Jonas. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
EXCLUSIVE: Huda Kattan just became the first beauty influencer to land a major beauty deal. Kattan's business, @hudabeauty, has received a minority investment from private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners. The brand, which industry sources say is on track to do $200 million in retail sales for 2017, will receive support on product, retail and geographic expansion through the deal. Get all the details on the deal and read @_a_collins' interview with Kattan on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdbeauty #wwdnews
Peruvian model @juanaburga_official – who is known for walking the runways of @rodarte, @viviennewestwood and @torybuch – is making the move to the big screen with drama “Los Últimos.” The film premiered in Argentina in November and arrives in the U.S. and Europe in 2018. On making the switch from modeling to acting, Burga told WWD: “It’s a completely different thing – a lot of people think it’s similar or try to connect things, especially like getting used to the camera or being looked at all the time or playing these different characrers, but film is a completely different story.” #wwdeye (📷: @jgreenery)
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)