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LOS ANGELES – Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen are heading to Claire’s for a makeover.
The teen moguls’ lifestyle and entertainment company, Dual-star Entertainment Group, said it is taking the first step beyond distributing the twins’ cosmetics line exclusively at Wal-Mart by selling bronzers, lip glosses and other makeup under the Mary-kateandashley brand at 500 Claire’s specialty stores in the U.S. and Canada starting this month.
Dualstar also launched the first print advertising campaign in its 13-year history last month, with full-page ads for fragrance and cosmetics in Ellegirl and Girls’ Life. The goal is to boost Dualstar’s growing four-year-old beauty business, which makes up 10 percent of the privately held company’s estimated $1 billion in global annual retail sales.
“Ashley and Mary-Kate never had a real interest in beauty and body care [before],” said Diane Reichenberger, chief executive officer of Culver City, Calif.-based Dualstar. “We really focused on that and looked at new opportunities for a brand that is very successful.”
The move comes as the Olsens, who are Dualstar’s co-presidents, strive to evolve their company and attract shoppers who are older than their core fans: girls 12 years old and younger. While tween apparel for the Mary-kateandashley brand represents about 80 percent of revenue, cosmetics appeal to all ages, Dualstar said. Priced from $1 to $5, the cosmetics are produced under license by Nu World in Carteret, N.J.
For Claire’s, the Pembroke Pines, Fla.-based jewelry and accessories specialty retailer, the cosmetics deal strengthens its existing relationship with Dualstar. Claire’s began selling the Mary-kateandashley scents, called Coast to Coast NYC and Coast to Coast LA, last June. With more than 1,650 stores in the U.S., Claire’s also carries cosmetics and body care lines such as Jessica Simpson’s Dessert Treat, That’s So Raven and Claire’s private label.
Marisa Jacobs, a spokeswoman for Claire’s, said customers are interested in celebrity brands and the company did very well with the Olsens’ fragrances. “To extend the line into the early stages in what hopefully would be a broad cosmetics line would be a good opportunity,” she said.
Reichenberger said Claire’s enables Dualstar to reach 7- to 18-year-old female shoppers.
“We’re looking at Claire’s as a long-term relationship,” Reichenberger said, hoping that the cosmetics eventually will be sold at all Claire’s stores worldwide. “We’re just taking the baby steps and seeing what they can do for future product categories, like accessories, bags, belts, jewelry [and] glasses.”
Jacobs confirmed that Claire’s is exploring other categories although no decisions have been made yet. “If we were to evaluate taking them overseas, one issue we would take into account is their level of popularity abroad,” she said.
The debut of Mary-kateand-ashley cosmetics at Claire’s will include new packaging that differs from what is used at Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which launched the cosmetics line in 2002.
One striking difference is the absence of the twins’ photos on the products sold at Claire’s. Reichenberger said the decision stemmed from the fact that the Mary-kateandashley cosmetics line is one of just a few beauty brands carried at Claire’s, unlike at Wal-Mart, where Mary-kate-andashley cosmetics compete within two or three aisles full of national names.
“There is something about reaching your core consumer who knows who Mary-Kate and Ashley are,” added Nichole Addario-DiModica, Dualstar’s executive director of publicity, marketing and operations. “We don’t have to have a picture of them to relate to the brand.”
Dualstar plans to run at least one ad in each issue of Ellegirl this year as well as an ad in the March-April edition of Girls’ Life. It said fragrance licensee Coty Inc. created the fragrance ads and Ellegirl, Dualstar and Nu World collaborated on the cosmetics ads.
Marc Gobé, chairman and ceo of New York-based branding consultancy desgrippes gobé, said the campaign seemed to be “a timid investment” with only two publications. But he said the promotion will help Dualstar’s relatively new cosmetics business build awareness and gain preference with consumers.”If you want to reach a specific market, advertising in magazines can really get your message to the women – or the young women – you want to reach,” he said.