NEW YORK — The Estée Lauder Cos. has ended its six-and-a-half-year experiment with the mass beauty market.
As anticipated, the company on Monday said it has sold its Jane Cosmetics teen brand. The new parent is Jane & Co. LLC, a joint venture recently formed between brothers Harry and Alex Adjmi, owners and operators of the apparel company One Step Up, and Lisa Yarnell, a longtime mass market beauty executive whose experience includes stints at L’Oréal, Coty and Renaissance Cosmetics.
The purchase price was not disclosed.
Harry Adjmi is chairman and Yarnell is president and chief executive officer. Yarnell will be running the business out of Jane’s Baltimore, Md., headquarters, replacing Todd C. First, who had been general manager of Jane under Lauder.
Yarnell said Monday that her first order of business will be to meet with retailers “to learn what the concerns and issues are, so we can reinvigorate mass efforts towards it.” Jane remains in 2,200 Wal-Mart doors, 250 Target doors and a smattering of drugstores. Yarnell believes it’s possible to rebuild Jane’s retail sales, which have sunk under $25 million from a high of $50 million a few years ago.
“I don’t see why Jane can’t be a $100 million brand,” she declared.
Industry observers say Lauder underinvested in Jane, but the brand’s sales also were hurt by a flood of competitors into the teen cosmetics market.
Adjmi, who sells private label apparel lines to discounters like Wal-Mart and Kmart, as well as specialty and department stores, said the intention is to broaden the brand base and maybe launch a fragrance and accessories to complement the cosmetics,” he said.
A New York showroom is being created for Jane, which Yarnell described as offering, “high-quality products with a fashion sense at a value price.”
Lauder surprised the industry when it snapped up Jane in September 1997, taking the prestige vendor into the mass market segment for the first time.
Jane Cosmetics was a darling of mass retailers in the beginning, for it was the first dedicated teen color brand, and it was hoped that it would unlock sales in an expanding market segment. A heartfelt, spirited brand with a bit of sassiness, it was launched in 1994 as an offshoot by the Sassaby Co., a maker of cosmetics boxes. The line awakened other marketers to the swelling ranks of teen consumers and the strength of their buying power.Up until then, Cover Girl, a general market brand that enjoys a teen following, and Bonne Bell, a youth brand with an emphasis on flavored lip items, were the brands most directly connecting with young shoppers. The introduction of Jane inspired a flood of teen and tween brands that followed, such as Caboodles and Fira, along with a host of private label youth collections.
From the beginning, Lauder had big visions for Jane. Chairman Leonard Lauder said in 1997 that what drew Lauder to Jane was the company needed a brand with more modest price points to help it break into emerging markets such as China and India. Another intention was to use Jane as a learning vehicle and as a wedge into the $3.5 billion mass color market. When acquired, Lauder initially retained Jane’s founding managers — Don Pettit and Howard Katkov — to guide its growth, but over time, both were quietly eased out of the Lauder organization as high-level Lauder management began weighing in on the brand.
“I think we learned that each of the major cosmetics channels, be they direct, mass or prestige, has certain skills and the fact that we are in the cosmetics business doesn’t necessarily give us the data bank to compete in every channel,” Daniel Brestle, a group vice president at Estée Lauder, said in an interview Monday. “Jane was a business we looked at to give us exposure to the [mass] channel. I thought it was a great experience for those of us here, but at the end, strategically, it was never going to be as big as what we wanted.”
Brestle noted that the brand’s general manager, Todd First, “had done a terrific job” over the past two years. Brestle said the Jane brand that was sold was a well-run organization with high-quality products. But in the end analysis, he said, Lauder’s core competence is in service environments. Said Brestle: “We do that pretty well.”
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews