The direct-selling business has evolved into a robust, technology-led distribution channel. A number of players — Mary Kay Inc., Rodan & Fields and Nu Skin Enterprises Inc. among them — have replaced the doorbell with e-mail, and the glossy brochure with an iPad app.
Last month, Mary Kay launched one of its most popular online tools, Virtual Makeover, for mobile devices ranging from the iPad to Android smartphones and tablets, said Patricia Wanderley, vice president of corporate digital marketing. Also, in March the company introduced an app called Show and Sell, designed to provide visual selling tools at parties hosted by its sales consultants, said Jamie Schott, Mary Kay’s director of digital marketing. These initiatives are now rolling out globally.
The skin care range Rodan & Fields has been steadily building a direct-selling network in the U.S. since leaving the department store channel in 2008. Thousands of Rodan & Fields’ 20,000 representatives are armed with iPads and nearly 100 percent of its orders are placed online, said a company spokeswoman. She added that the company has an incentive program where reps can earn iPads. With products such as the 60-day regimen Anti-Age Amp MD, priced at $200, Rodan & Fields plays in the premium tier, along with Nu Skin, a company that many on Wall Street point to as the bellwether of beauty direct selling with its luxury price points and multilevel selling model. Nu Skin’s flagship skin care range, AgeLoc, sells for between $50 to $450 for a monthly regimen. The spoils of those double- and triple-digit price points help attracted and retain representatives.
Several Wall Street analysts contend that Avon’s low price points and heavy-handed promotions make its business model more labor-intensive for its representatives. As Stifel Nicolaus & Co. analyst Mark Astrachan pointed out, “You want Avon to be a business where you can earn a living, not supplement a living. It takes an awful lot of lipstick [sales] to equal a $200 skin cream.” Avon does offer reps online tools and an iPhone app.
Nu Skin said it funnels 43 percent of its sales back to its representatives through incentive programs, and Rodan & Fields distributes more than 30 percent of revenue to its sales force, according to industry sources. A source with knowledge of Avon’s business said the company’s U.S. business allotted roughly 20 percent of sales to its representatives.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast