By  on June 9, 2006

LOS ANGELES — Tapping into a trend for customized compacts, popular mass brand e.l.f. is launching its own version for summer, while keeping its traditional $1 price point intact.

Elements, a new compact containing four different shades for eyes, cheeks and lips, hits stores in July, said Joey Shamah, founder and chief executive officer of the New York-based line.

"Customizing is in," he said. "We'll have core colors, but they will change every season."

For the debut, there will be a total of 25 shades — 10 each for eyes and lips, and five for cheeks. These include Periwinkle and Mocha for eyes, Earth Rose and Guava for lips and rose-hued Glow and Coy for cheeks. Each shade comes in individual boxes, and they pop out and into a small, see-through compact. The colors and the compact will retail for $1 each, resulting in a $5 price tag for the completed product.

Shamah is optimistic about consumer response: In the first three weeks of availability, Elements sold 5,000 units on the brand's Web site. As for store sales, Shamah said he anticipates sales between $1.5 million and $2 million by mid-2007.

"We want it to be fun for women to buy makeup, even if they are on a budget," said Shamah, who founded e.l.f. (which stands for "Eyes. Lips. Face.") in 2004. Scott Vincent Borba, previously of Hard Candy and other established beauty brands, is e.l.f.'s creative director and president. The line is now in about 2,500 doors nationwide, including select Target stores. Borba anticipates doubling his number of U.S. doors by the end of 2006 with a significant expansion into regional and national grocery stores and supermarkets.

E.l.f. also has a presence in Australia, the U.K. and parts of Asia.

Elements is just one of a series of new products the brand will be bowing for summer. A new Plumping Lip Glaze — retailing for $1 — claims to be similar in effect to pricier items on the market. Infused with menthol, the two-sided lip product offers clear and tinted options and comes in eight shades. There is also a Super Glossy Lip Shine SPF 15, flavored with sweetener."We are also relaunching some of our lip categories," said Shamah, referring to a Hypershine Gloss, which now has intensified color and added sweetener and is available in eight shades. Gift sets, which will also be introduced in July, will be at the $5 to $8 price point, working out to $1 per item.

Staying true to its easy-access philosophy, the company is also launching Hypershine Mini Cell Phone Lip Gloss Charm — tiny glosses designed to be affixed to a cell phone, key ring, zipper or belt and which are priced at $5 for eight colors.

Shamah said he wants to put his low-price spin on other major trends in the beauty arena, including natural and organic products.

"We hope to launch something comparable at our price point," he said. "And skin care is a long-term goal for us. We are gearing toward a lifestyle brand, and not just color. We want to be there for every single beauty need and are looking at other brand extensions."

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