Beauty Beat: Makeup Artist Sawyer Heads to QVC

After building a career behind the camera beautifying the likes of Sharon Stone, Kate Beckinsale and Scarlett Johansson, makeup artist Tricia Sawyer is moving into the spotlight next month with the launch of her beauty line on QVC.

After building a career behind the camera beautifying the likes of Sharon Stone, Kate Beckinsale and Scarlett Johansson, makeup artist Tricia Sawyer is moving into the spotlight next month with the launch of her beauty line on QVC.

The launch follows a successful introductory appearance on the shopping channel’s “Beauty Newsmakers” program in February, during which Sawyer estimated 4,000 units of Eye Slept Cream, an under-eye revitalizer, sold in about six minutes. Sawyer will fill an hour on a subsequent appearance on April 22 at 10 a.m., when she adds six more items to her menu of available products.

“You can only do so many women one-on-one [at a] counter or in-store at a time,” said Sawyer, who gained experience in makeup instruction as a spokeswoman for Prescriptives Cosmetics from 1995 to 1999. “I really wanted attainable beauty, and I wanted to show as many people as I could. QVC is amazing at that.”

Allen Burke, QVC’s director of beauty merchandising, compared Sawyer’s partnership with QVC to a marriage. “We are in this business together,” he said. “It is a collaborative effort, but the inspiration starts with the product developer. What is tremendously impressive about Tricia is that she is such a great product developer. She has probably got 1,000 ideas.”

The idea for Sawyer’s first product, Eye Slept, was cultivated in her bathroom four years ago. Feeling tired after the birth of her son, now five, she blended several ingredients to concoct a mix that would brighten dull skin. “I got creative,” she recalled. “I want to be able to walk outside not wearing a full face of makeup, but look awake and alive.”

The aptly titled Alive, a botanical-loaded moisturizer priced at $34 on QVC, succeeded $21 Eye Slept. The other products rounding out Sawyer’s QVC roster are a powder and brush duo for $59, iridescent powder shades dubbed Starlets for $21, an Essentials Palette of neutral eye shadows for $34, a one-step smoky eye tool called Smoke and Mirrors for $20, and a foundation and blush combo for $51.

Sawyer’s nearly two-decade relationship with Stone began on the movie “Where Sleeping Dogs Lie.” She continued to hone Stone’s look in notable films such as “Basic Instinct” and “Casino,” on the red carpet and in magazines (Stone with slicked-back hair and barely-there makeup on a mid-Nineties Harper’s Bazaar cover is a Sawyer favorite).

This story first appeared in the March 8, 2007 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

“Especially with Sharon Stone, obviously this [Sawyer] is somebody who is pretty accomplished, who really knows what she is doing,” Burke said, when asked about the importance of celebrities to QVC’s audience. “It reinforces professional credentials. That is what ultimately our customer really wants to see.”

Sawyer insists she is trying to cut back on movie commitments to promote her line and spend time with family (fiancé Chuck Toussieng is her business partner). But last week, she was up until 5 a.m. on the set of “I Know Who Killed Me.” She is responsible for Lindsay Lohan’s makeup on the film.

“In my soul, it’s hard for me not to [take film jobs] because I really like building a character,” Sawyer said.

Sawyer’s makeup artist background is evident throughout the product line. She has a clear perspective on powder, for example. It’s not meant to be used as a foundation, but rather to simply set makeup. Her powder comes in one color and is crafted out of cotton, a material she ran across while sifting through products in various stages of completion during her tenure at Prescriptives.

For those with questions on how to use the products, Sawyer has recorded demonstrations for iPods and cell phones. And when customers order a product, they receive a three-hour DVD to assist in proper makeup application. A booklet, Sawyer remarked, “felt so impersonal.”

Packaging company Alcan helped Sawyer create packaging. A decorative leafy pattern texturizes a dark exterior and breaks up a white interior with gray. The components are characterized by sleek metal. “I wanted something that was simple and beautiful and just felt elegant in your hand,” Sawyer explained.

Before her QVC debut, Sawyer sold products on her Web site and nowhere else. The limited distribution was more of an asset than a drawback for QVC, suggested Burke. Traditionally, he said, retailers have tended to overexpose brands by splashing them across different media, including television and magazines. On the other hand, he said, QVC is cautious to slowly establish its beauty names.

“We don’t take anybody on that we could have [one] good year [with]. This looks like it has a good foundation, and the next year it will be bigger and the next year bigger still,” he said. “[The] desire is to build your business long-term with the brand.”

Bare Escentuals Aims to Go Direct

NEW YORK — As part of Bare Escentuals’ plan to move its international business away from distributors, the mineral makeup firm signed a non-binding letter of intent to purchase Cosmeceuticals Limited.

The U.K. distributor currently distributes Bare Escentuals’ BareMinerals, MD Formulations and MD Forte brands in Europe.

The acquisition would allow the beauty firm to control its existing distribution to QVC U.K. and 1,500 spa accounts. The company expects that it will also allow Bare Escentuals to enter new sales channels in the U.K., including infomercials, Web/catalogue and premium wholesale. The deal, subject to shareholder approval, is expected to close around April 2.

During the company’s earnings call last week, chief executive officer Leslie Blodgett said that in December, Bare Escentuals informed its Japanese distributor that the company planned to terminate their relationship and begin selling directly to QVC Japan at the start of 2008. During 2007, Bare Escentuals will work with the distributor on a sales consignment basis.