By  on August 1, 2014

CVS Pharmacy has its sights set on the masstige beauty market. Throughout early August, the retailer will roll out its first upmarket proprietary beauty line, called Makeup Academy, or MUA.

“We saw a gap between entry-level and prestige — Makeup Academy fills that void,” said George Coleman, vice president of merchandising, store brands and quality assurance. “It’s a premium beauty collection designed by makeup artists that delivers professional results.”

The 145-item line, available this month at 4,000 CVS doors and cvs.com/muapro, includes lashes, brushes and lip. “We decided on these categories, based on successes we’d already seen,” said Coleman. “Lip is the number-one impulse buy in our stores, and over the last three years lash has been the fastest-growing category in cosmetics.” CVS added brushes into the mix based on feedback from its beauty customers. “She was asking for better brush finish and components and sleeker, more modern design,” said Coleman.

Coleman and his team tackled the design issue by wrapping their products in the chicest of shades: matte black.

“The color of the components and packaging indicates a sophisticated, professional-level product,” said Coleman. The brush category, priced $9 to $26, includes everything from the most basic shadow brush to a tool designed specifically for BB and CC creams. Lashes, $5 to $10, are made of higher-quality fibers and are divided into “natural” and “glamour” styles to offer consumers both subtle enhancement and high-impact looks. The Lip collection, $6 to $10, houses most of the stockkeeping units, with glosses, balms, stains, crayons and lipsticks in a rainbow of shades. Although the brand declined to disclose numbers, industry sources estimate Makeup Academy could generate $9 million in sales in its first year.

In addition to its e-commerce site, CVS will also launch muapro.com, which takes a more editorial look at the line and features makeup tutorials. In stores, Makeup Academy will be displayed on dedicated kiosks that detail product highlights, and beauty advisers in 400 doors will receive samples and educational materials on the collection, so they can advise shoppers on purchasing decisions.

CVS will also leverage its 13 million member customer loyalty program, the Beauty Club, by offering coupons, samples and special offers. “When you think of color cosmetics in our chain, it’s mostly about the big brands — L’Oréal, Maybelline and Cover Girl. But we wouldn’t introduce this line if we didn’t think it could play in that arena. We think we’ve hit a sweet spot.”

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