By  on October 19, 2006

LOS ANGELES — No one can accuse Napoleon Perdis of lacking ambition.

In less than two years, the 35-year-old Australian makeup artist of Greek descent shepherded his cosmetic products into the U.S. market, surged up north with a Canadian launch in department store chain The Bay and is now planting four concept stores in California.

And he's not stopping there: Five more are planned for the West Coast next year.

"The great thing about the U.S. was that it encouraged entrepreneurs," said Perdis. "Companies like Estée Lauder were started by one woman. It all happened in her lifetime. The reality is that everything is achievable in your lifetime."

Perdis' first locations are in Topanga, Century City, San Francisco and Hollywood, where a 4,000-square-foot flagship will boast both retail space and a makeup academy. Openings began last month and will continue through January.

"The consumer here needs to see you in multiple places so they understand you are a player," said Perdis. "It is strategic to make sure that the consumer can be introduced in different entry points."

Like his energetic personality, the design of Perdis' stores, which cost an average of $500,000 each to build, is not subtle. Walls are covered in thick black-and-white stripes; items from Perdis' personal collection including vintage lamps and wool rugs foster a boudoir feel, and a large hanging chandelier recalls mid-century style. Perdis describes the look as "Dorothy Draper meets European baroque.

"You get a complete textural experience," he said. "The reason why I love Dorothy Draper is because it was at a time in America when everything was designed. She would go from the black-and-white wallpaper to the napkin to the menu of services right through to the knife and fork."

In 2007, Perdis predicts North American revenues — including sales at his concept stores, at least 16 Saks Fifth Avenue doors and 50 The Bay doors — will amount to $10 million. For the fiscal year ended in June, Perdis reported Napoleon Perdis Cosmetics racked up $65 million in Australia and New Zealand, where there are 52 stand-alone stores. Perdis co-owns the company with his brother Emmanuel.

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