LONDON — Liz Earle is ready to roll out its wholesome, botanicals-based beauty brand to the U.S. next year, with a focus on skin-care education.
The British brand originally planted its flag in the U.S. in 2008 — two years before it was purchased by Avon — and current distribution remains limited. And principals believe there is enormous untapped potential.
In an interview here, Dana Kline, the brand’s U.S. ambassador, said there are plans to forge an exclusive deal with a single retailer with the aim of having key products — such as the brand hero, Cleanse & Polish cleanser — on counters by July or August. She added that talks with specialty and department store retailers are under way. The company is currently setting up an American subsidiary, and plans to relaunch its U.S. Web site next year. Kline said that staff would be sent from the company’s Isle of Wight headquarters in England to pack boxes, and ensure that company culture and levels of service are maintained.
The time is right to expand seriously into the U.S., Kline said: “We have a 24-hour call center on the Isle of Wight, and it was getting so many requests for us to be more present in the U.S.,” said Kline, adding that a selection of Liz Earle products has also been a sellout on Birchbox, where it launched last month.
“We sold three-and-a-half months’ worth of products in less than three weeks,” said Kline, adding that the brand will be available on the Web site once again in January with a further 150,000 samples.
With regard to any potential retail partnership, Kline said Liz Earle plans to go “narrow and deep, infuse the British feeling of service and offer the brand from a treatment perspective. We want to be very hands-on, with training and education at the core of what we do.” She added that the brand plans to pay staff so that they are in a position to do “honest consultations,” and not feel under pressure to sell on commission.
Kline said the brand would be positioned at the prestige level — the Cleanse & Polish Starter Kit is priced at $21.50 — and will compete alongside the likes of Clinique and Laura Mercier. Some 18 to 21 stockkeeping units will be on offer, including the Skin Repair Moisturiser, Instant Boost Skin Tonic and Superskin Concentrate products and Sheer Skin Tint, which also acts as a primer.
The brand plans to appeal to a wide range of women — from teenagers who have just begun to explore skin care to older ones whose skin may require the brand’s more heavy-duty nourishing products.
The products are known for their natural, nonirritating ingredients, such as borage, eucalyptus, sweet almond and avocado oils, beta-carotene, Vitamin E and jojoba beads for exfoliation.
The new e-commerce site, Kline said, will be lifestyle-driven, with a focus on themes such as “conscious living and eating better.” It will also be interactive, with customers able to enter into a dialogue with the service team.
Liz Earle was founded in 1995 by Earle, a former beauty editor and a mother of five, along with her business partner Kim Buckland. It quickly gained a cult following in the U.K., particularly for the Cleanse & Polish cleanser, and built up a following through mail-order catalogues, QVC, the brand’s Web site and its U.K. shops and distributors.
Earle is still involved in the business, although Buckland is not.
According to the company, a bottle of Cleanse & Polish is sold every 22 seconds in the U.K., while the brand’s latest fragrance, Botanical Essence No. 15, won the People’s Choice Award for Women at the FiFi UK Fragrance Awards last May.
Avon acquired the brand in 2010 and has continued to operate it as a freestanding entity. In 2011, the brand introduced color cosmetics, although Kline said they would not be rolled out to the U.S. market as part of the launch.
The company is still based on the quaint, pastoral Isle of Wight, where local employees pack boxes and operate the 24-hour call center, their office walls papered with thank you notes and photos from customers.
Kline declined to comment on business projections, but industry sources estimate that the U.K. wholesale business is 55 million pounds, or $88 million at current exchange, with half that now coming from the brand’s Web site. Three months ago in the U.K., Liz Earle landed on Boots’ shelves for the first time.
In the U.S., Liz Earle could generate $100 million at retail over the next two years, according to industry sources.
Kline said she is passionate about the British-ness of the brand and of the future opportunities. “We don’t want to be just another brand that comes in from Europe and lands in America. We’re most serious about education, and we want to be able to talk to our customers. And we think the U.S. opens up a lot of opportunities for us worldwide.”
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews
@prada is introducing a new project at its men’s fall 2018 show this Sunday: “Prada Invites.” The fashion house invited four celebrated creative minds – @ronanaerwanbouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, @herzogdemeuron and @rem.koolhaas – to each create a unique item with its iconic nylon material. The designs will be unveiled on the runway show, which will take place at the company’s warehouse in Viale Ortles 25. #wwdfashion #mfwm (📷: @martinocarrera)
@kering_official is spinning off its stake in puma in an effort to focus on its luxury brands, the brand operator announced yesterday. “We are proud to have supported the turnaround of Puma, which now has unrivaled capabilities to take full advantage of the specific dynamics of its global markets and is poised to achieve substantial growth,” said François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s chief executive officer and chairman. Artémis will become a “long-term strategic shareholder” of Puma with a 29 percent stake. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
The fashion world mourns for celebrated street style photographer, Nabile Quenum, who died at age 32 in Paris.
Quenum, creator of the fashion blog “J’ai Perdu Ma Veste,” was a fashion week fixture, and regularly shot for New York magazine’s The Cut, among other outlets, and brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moncler and Adidas. He was also actively involved in the #NoFreePhotos initiative, which kicked off in the fall. Read more about Quenum in @kbsmoke's story on WWD.com. #wwdnews
@verwanggang and @maisonladuree have teamed up on a dessert collab called Vera Wang Pour Ladurée. The collection, which launched this week, features a specialty macaroon, as well as a wedding cake inspired by one of the designer’s gowns. “I could not imagine a more delicate or sophisticated creation to grace any couple’s celebration,” said Wang. #wwdfashion