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Critical Mass: Beauty’s Own Mail Call

NEW YORK — Myra Solomon, principal of Just Having Fun Cosmetics, is sending teens and tweens a message — literally.<br><br>Instead of traditional pegged cosmetics, Solomon has created a line called The Gifted Card. Each gift card is in a...

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NEW YORK — Myra Solomon, principal of Just Having Fun Cosmetics, is sending teens and tweens a message — literally.

Instead of traditional pegged cosmetics, Solomon has created a line called The Gifted Card. Each gift card is in a whimsical shape, such as a handbag, and includes cosmetics or accessories as well as a message.

“The teen customer is fickle and you need products that catch the consumer. It isn’t about the products, it is about clever packaging,” said Solomon. The fact that teen brands seem to come and go validates her beliefs.

Lamenting that everything in the youth cosmetics department is the same, Solomon seeks to reach the market with greeting cards created especially for them. Greeting card sales exceed $6 billion per year and although there are cards for the death of a pet or a divorce, there are few age-appropriate greeting cards for teens — the e-mail generation.

Sources estimated that The Gifted Card could easily exceed sales of $3 million to $5 million within a few years. Solomon would not comment on estimates, but believes there is an eager audience.

“It is one part of the greeting card market that is untapped,” said Solomon. “These are created for teens to give to teens.” She admitted that young girls haven’t been eager to correspond via mail. She hopes to change that.

The cards, which retail for under $7, are designed for birthdays, holidays or all occasions. An example is a card in the shape of a purse that when opened has several lip glosses inside. Another is a butterfly with hair clips and the saying, “Butterfly, Flutterfly Flies far away. Then Comes back to wish you a Happy Birthday.” Solomon penned the verses on all 27 cards. The cards are grouped in collections such as handbags or a comic book series that Solomon thinks will strike a chord with young shoppers.

The Gifted Cards are currently shipping to upscale gift shops, but Solomon wants to see them in all spots where teens shop, from malls to airports. “This is one-stop shopping because you get the gift, the card and the wrapping,” Solomon explained.

“This is really cool,” said Ashley Williams, a 12-year-old who received the card for her confirmation. “I really like the lip gloss.”

Solomon has vast experience in what teens like. She was the creator of Sweet Georgia Brown, one of the first hip color lines. For several years, she’s dreamed up clever lines for Just Having Fun, such as Petunia and the Army Brats promotion. That’s still an integral part of the business, but Solomon is hoping The Gifted Card lands her tons of fan mail. She sees the potential to work in tandem with fashion designers on licensed card deals. “The potential is huge,” she said.

Eckerd Drug has selected a downtown Manhattan site near the World Financial Center for its first store in the borough. The 9,000-square-foot store will front on Vesey Street and the World Financial Center courtyard. Eckerd officials did not say when it would open. Duane Reade operated a store in the World Trade Center and CVS has a store nearby.

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