BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — While Bare Escentuals is often associated with infomercials, specialty stores and QVC, the company also has an expanding network of boutique stores such as the one here in the Bridgewater Commons Mall.
“People’s faces just light up when they walk in and can find all of our products here where they can experiment with them,” said Ashley Trinh, an associate [or beauty ambassador, as the company terms them] at the store, which opened in September.
There are 81 Bare Escentuals boutiques in the United States stretching from Massachusetts to Hawaii (many of which have only opened within the past year), with plans calling for 91 by the end of the year. The store here is the second in New Jersey and is part of an upgrade plan to attract high-level tenants to the center of the mall, which is anchored by Bloomingdale’s, Lord & Taylor and Macy’s.
Over the past few years, the decor of the boutiques has changed from a white, country-chic look to a warm and inviting bedroom-feeling decked out with chandeliers and crimson walls. There are ample stools for consultation and low-hanging lights to accentuate the colors. The merchandise mix includes BareMinerals SPF foundation and a full array of eye colors, blushes and lip colors. Skin care also gets top billing with RareMineral presented in a special skin care area.
During a recent analyst call, company chief executive officer Leslie Blodgett talked about the importance of newness — and this store positions new items right at the front door. According to store officials, a new hydrating mist sold out within days. Under the What’s New area is also a collection called Buxom Babes as well as the big holiday kit this year, bare Crystals.
The Get Started Kit is a big seller, said associate Erica Mertz. “That’s what most people come in looking for,” she said. Although Blodgett in the analyst call said the company is eyeing any change in kit sales because of the economy and the higher price points of the sets, that hasn’t been the case at the new boutique. The kits also open up the opportunity for greater trial and conversion to clients, Blodgett explained. Sampling efforts are also more important than ever for the brand, she said.
The store features several tables where products are out in the open for testing, as well as a bar lined with chairs for consultation. Trinh said customers can’t help but sit down and start “playing” and asking for advice. In a sense, the stores bring to life the consultation company Blodgett details in her appearances on bus tours and her stints on QVC. The popularity of the brand can directly be traced to Blodgett and her in-the-trenches tactics. She recently returned from bus tours where she gets to know her clientele and find out what new products they desire. The company plans to add online and social networking marketing to further the brand’s penetration.
Blodgett sees the opportunity to translate that loyalty into brick-and-mortar stores. Although productivity is down in boutiques, she feels efforts under way will fortify results. The existence of the boutiques separates Bare Escentuals from other mineral lines and analysts said it can serve as a growth avenue should other marketing tools such as infomercials loose impact.
Bare Escentuals indeed has fervent consumers — more than 8.5 million strong with 90 percent of those pledging to stay loyal to the brand, said Blodgett and Myles McCormick, chief operating and chief financial officer, during the recent call. “Now, however, the opportunity exists to convert the high brand awareness created by the infomercial into trial within our dramatically expanded brick-and-mortar footprint,” said Blodgett, referring to retail partners and the firm’s own stores.
The Bridgewater store competes with a nearby Sephora, which also offers Bare Escentuals, as well as one other beauty store, Essentials. In a nearby lifestyle shopping center, called The Village, is Bluemercury. One consumer passing by the store on a recent morning said she’d rather shop the boutique than Sephora. “I bought this brand on television and I want to come into the boutique to get firsthand advice on using it,” said Kayt Klinck, an 18-year-old college student who was going to the store for the first time.
• • •
The Maesa Group announced the launch of Maesa Home, the company’s fragrance division, which was created via the acquisition of Latitudes International, a home fragrance design and manufacturing company in Los Angeles.
“This is not simply a name change,” said Maesa Group ceo, Gregory Mager. “This is the launch of a new division that benefits from the additional expertise and experience of Maesa’s global operations in every facet of beauty manufacturing.”
Maesa Group purchased Latitudes International in 2007, as part of a long-term strategy to expand the company’s presence in the U.S. market. Latitudes founder and president Jill Belasco will assume the role of ceo of Maesa Home. “We’ve had the past few months to integrate our teams, share technologies and leverage the strengths and experience of key management,” said Belasco. “Now, we can launch Maesa Home as a major force in the home fragrance category.”
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews