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Critical Mass: Grant Berry: Back With Style

NEW YORK — One nagging problem in the mass market has been a lack of uniqueness from store to store. <br><br>Too often, the beauty items sold at Walgreens resemble what is sold at Wal-Mart and CVS. Added to that is the blurring of the lines...

NEW YORK — One nagging problem in the mass market has been a lack of uniqueness from store to store.

Too often, the beauty items sold at Walgreens resemble what is sold at Wal-Mart and CVS. Added to that is the blurring of the lines between specialty, salon and retail stores. The consumer really can’t distinguish one channel of distribution from another.

Grant Berry hopes to rectify that situation. Berry has spent the last year creating a new color line called Styli-Style. He hopes his products provide that point of difference for retailers desiring to set their stores apart from the pack.

Berry, the son of cosmetics entrepreneur Madeleine Mono, first cracked into beauty with a line called Pirate in the 1980s. He also created a brand of beauty products called Lord & Berry, which was eventually sold to AM Cosmetics. Now he is out on his own again and hoping to shake the market up with his new company called InterMark USA.

“We don’t expect to be in every door,” said Berry during a recent interview. “And we might not always be first to market with a new concept. But, we will do it better and different.”

A case in point was the debut item in the Styli-Style collection — the market’s first semipermanent eye and lip liner called Line & Seal. Now Berry is adding to that with L3, a grouping of shadow pencils, shadow pens, lipsticks and lipglosses that are also semipermanent. The name L3, according to Berry, refers to Last to the third power.

While there are other semipermanent lip products available on the market, Berry said that his does not dry out lips and does not require a special application to set the color. Consumers have complained that other long-wearing lip products dry their lips out, making the long-wear items difficult to use. The line extensions to Styli-Style will ship this fall and retail for about $8.

While Berry believes the products themselves are unique, the merchandising units also stand out in beauty departments. “When you go into an art supply store, you are surrounded by color,” observed Berry. “That’s not always true on a peg wall.”

Borrowing from art supply stores, Berry has created a color wheel promotional tool for L3. For retailers with limited wall space, his firm also offers a one-foot merchandiser featuring a full-frontal view of all of the products.

With Styli-Style, Berry is selling into both the beauty supply business and the mass market. Although there is an obvious blurring of those two worlds — more retail stores are adding salons and salons are enlarging beauty offerings — Berry believes the two can coexist. “Beauty supply stores are starting to focus on color and have room for the color wheel,” said Berry. “They like to present an upscale look.” For mass marketers, Styli-Style can provide a line not found in every door. “Drugstores and discounters need to do more with their beauty departments. We haven’t come very far since fixtures were launched in the 1970s,” he added.

The connection with beauty supply is key to Styli-Style’s success, Berry added. “It gives us a product and fashion edge,” he explained. That edge will come into play when Berry introduces a new product next year that he will only refer to as Product X at this time. “I’ve been working on this product for years and it is a new concept we will launch next year in the U.S., as well as internationally.”

Berry also consults with Intercos and is working on several private label ventures for major retailers. Although he said some interest in private label has diminished, he believes there are opportunities for retailers who treat private label as a quality, yet valuable proposition.