By  on April 25, 2013

E.l.f. Cosmetics quietly opened its first retail flagship in New York’s Greenwich Village last week. A grand opening of the 1,200-square-foot space is planned for May 22.

It didn’t take fanfare to lure consumers to the unit. A highly trafficked neighborhood coupled with word of mouth on E.l.f.’s social media vehicles contributed to opening volume that has been above expectations, according to Joey Shamah, E.l.f.’s chief executive officer.

E.l.f.’s portfolio is now sold online, in retail partner stores and the branded store, which is believed to be the first mass value retail door in the industry. L’Oréal operates stores but prefers to use them as experimental laboratories for concepts to roll out to chains.

Industry sources estimate the boutique will achieve first-year sales exceeding $2 million. Two more stores are planned prior to the end of the year, said Shamah who added New Jersey is on E.l.f.’s expansion bucket list. E.l.f.’s total revenues are estimated to topple the $150 million mark.

E.l.f. is borrowing a page from prestige companies such as MAC Cosmetics, Bare Escentuals, Aveda and Origins, which sell products in vertically integrated stores. Shamah isn’t concerned retail partners will feel E.l.f. stores compete with their offer but thinks that they will actually benefit from what E.l.f. learns in its own environment. E.l.f. is rapidly expanding in major chains such as Walgreens, Wal-Mart and Target.

In particular, E.l.f. hopes to continue its strategy of trading consumers up to its Studio collection, priced between $3 to $6, which accounts for most of the merchandise in the store. E.l.f.’s portfolio also includes Essentials, the entry line at $1 to $2, and Minerals, priced from $3 to $8. The flagship offers about 550 stockkeeping units out of E.l.f.’s total lineup of 1,000 items.

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