NEW YORK — Whether women are growing their eyelashes longer or turning to enhancements, lashes are a hot category.
Sales of false eyelashes for the 52-week period ended Feb. 20 in food, drug and mass (including Wal-Mart) grew 6.2 percent to almost $44 million, according to Nielsen data. That’s during a period when many beauty categories were flat.
Sales for eyelash growth stimulators, which includes mass and prescription brands, are harder to peg, but they are growing at high double digits, buyers said, en route to what many claim will easily flutter into a $1 billion category.
Prescription items include Latisse, while over-the-counter options include RapidLash and L’Oréal’s successful Lash Serum. Additionally, lash growers are available via direct marketing and a smattering of specialty or department stores. One buyer called L’Oréal’s collection a “smash” that will add millions to the chain’s business.
For retailers, the growth of both artificial lashes and lash boosters is eye opening. Some larger retailers say they can sell $4 million to $5 million worth of artificial eyelashes alone.
David Woolf of American International Industries, a leader in the eyelash business, said that while some women may want to try serums, there are those who prefer artificial lashes. Fake eyelashes are reusable, safe, reasonable priced and can provide different looks for different moods. In particular, false lashes are a good value, retailers added, versus the price tag of $120 for Latisse.
With artificial lashes gaining in popularity, Woolf hopes to see the mix broadened and the items given prime real estate. “Eyelashes are the fashion cosmetics of today,” said Woolf. “Why do most retailers look at lashes as an accessory instead of a cosmetic? Retailers need to realize eyelashes are a cosmetic and that this is a category that has shown double-digit growth year after year. The fact of the matter is that the least productive retail lash sets are those with the fewest [stockkeeping units].”
Retailers enjoying growth in lashes added they are trying to build the business around seasons, too. Halloween has always been a “no-brainer,” but now prom and other dress-up times are becoming popular for off-shelf promotions of lashes. Beyond traditional full lashes, there is growth from single lashes, as well as “half-lashes.” YouTube and other social media sites are helping women learn how to use false lashes, retailers said. Woolf added that women are more receptive to using artificial lashes as makeup trends favor a more finished look. “It is an aesthetic prosthetic,” he added.
While lashes go to bat for more footage, lash enhancers also are getting more attention at retail. Rocasuba’s RapidLash is now in 15,000 locations, according to company chief executive officer and owner Robert Trow, including spas. Ulta, CVS and Bed Bath & Beyond headline the retail doors moving the product, which sells for just less than $50.
Trow said products such as RapidLash are gaining followers who share success stories. He said there are 10,000 Facebook fans, as well as positive blogs and editorial coverage. While products such as RapidLash may have needed service to sell in stores in the past, the popularity of social networking is helping convince consumers to try them without a trained sales associate on hand. He added his firm will be adding more items to complement RapidLash that also will help women enhance their appearances.
“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