Girlactik"s buyers, who are mostly between the ages of 25 and 50, are hardly girly. The pink packaging, on the other hand, was more teen than mature woman.
To match the two, Girlactik founder Galit Strugano is retooling the look of her nearly eight-year-old, shimmer-centered beauty brand. In the new packaging, pewter is the dominant color, with pearl-finished brown chandelier patterns on the boxes, and pink is relegated to the writing on the components.
"The components are chic and sharp. When you see a woman who is taking out Bobbi Brown or Chanel, it fits them," she said. "It"s a fun makeup line, but it is still conservative and of good quality. It"s not a party line."
Strugano sought packaging inspiration in an unlikely place, Forever 21. While strolling by the store, she glanced at its elaborate chandelier and became convinced chandeliers would make a decorative statement on the boxes. "I have an obsession with crystal chandeliers," laughed Strugano.
Chandeliers also reflect Girlactik"s core sparkle product. Starting out in the cosmetics industry as a makeup artist, Strugano, now 31, was frustrated that the glitter on the market left a mess after application. With a budget of $1,800, she sought to craft a sparkle shadow that would stay put.
After four years in development, the result was a two-step process: Girlactik"s eye shadow shimmer is placed on top of base primer. The pearl base, retailing for $14, remains the brand"s top seller. "It holds the shadow and intensifies it," she said. "It can carry your shadow from day to night."
Since her first investment, Strugano has plowed money from sales into her Encino, Calif.-based company, avoiding outside help. She does, however, rely on her mother Amira for accounting assistance. At the brand"s recent height from 2003 to 2004, Girlactik generated around $12,000 per month on Sephora"s Web site.
But Strugano has retrenched from the larger beauty retailers to focus on the brand"s packaging and strategy. Currently, Girlactik is primarily available in boutiques, beauty supply stores and online retailers such as Planet Blue, Naimie"s Beauty Center and makeup.com.
To better appeal to large retailers, Strugano said she has expanded the line to include "everything except foundation and concealer." The latest offering includes the $25 Radiant Mineral Face Powder, which is scheduled for release in May, the same month that the new packaging will hit stores. She"s also adding eye shadow, including a light coral shade called Mariposa, a gold hue called Golda and a gunmetal pewter dubbed Sultry.Dena Zadok, who handles sales at Naimie"s in Valley Village, Calif., which carries Girlactik"s full line, was pleased by the tester units" appearance. "It is a little softer to the eye, not as teeny-bopperish. It is a smart move on her part," she said of Strugano"s revamp. "We get a lot of middle-aged women that come in that want desperately to look younger, but packaging will throw them off a lot."
To cover the expenses of updating packaging, Girlactik"s prices are increasing slightly by $1 to $2. Shadows and blushes will retail for $16 each. For first-year sales, Strugano expects to notch $1 million. She"ll get a boost in May when she is scheduled to appear on QVC. She hopes to sell 3,000 items in around eight minutes.
"I know that I have a diamond in my hands. This new line is ready," said Strugano. The one change she won"t make: the name Girlactik is staying. Originally, Strugano wanted to call the line Gossip, a moniker already claimed by a fragrance. She then thought of Galactic, a play on her given name and stars in the sky. But CoverGirl had used that, so her friends suggested Girlactik and it stuck.
"A lot of customers love the name," said Strugano. "The buyers think in a different way. They think, 'Teen brand." Had I known, I would not have named it Girlactik, but you learn a lot as you go."
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