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NEW YORK — With the teen and tween beauty market showing growing pains, manufacturers are looking to licenses to sweeten things up.
This story first appeared in the June 6, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Well-known brand names such as Twinkies, Orange Crush and Mike & Ikes are appearing on cosmetics aimed at the preteen and teenage audience. The hope is that these logos might finally capture the pocketbooks of fickle young shoppers.
Finding ways to attract younger shoppers will once again be on the to-do list of the beauty retailers heading to San Diego for the National Association of Chain Drug Stores Marketplace Meeting, which will be held at the convention center June 7-10. More than 180 retail companies representing 70,000 stores will view the offerings of 900 manufacturing companies, including 120 in the beauty business.
A survey of buyers heading to the show said they want to delve into what is happening with the tween-teen consumer, a market that has baffled retailers for five years.
Last week, Gary Schofield, president of Caboodles, a leading teen brand, departed, while the entire beauty franchise has been put on the block. After tremendous growth, Caboodles’ sales declined 25 percent.
Another blow to the youth beauty market was Limited Too’s announcement it was dropping its Mishmash stores in favor of lower-priced apparel stores serving a younger age. Mishmash had been launched to attract girls who had grown out of Limited Too’s apparel, but it also was designed to sell more cosmetics and accessories.
Earlier this year, CVS dismantled its Grl Lab departments in favor of integrating young brands into the traditional mix.
Again this year, Teen People will be bringing its trend panel to San Diego to ferret out items on the massive exhibit floor that they like.
Steph Fogelson, president of Lotta Luv, hopes they have a sweet tooth. His firm already has beauty products based on popular candy brands such as Junior Mints, Pez and Reese’s merchandised under the Candy Corner umbrella. Now, it has teamed up with Hostess for the Bake Shoppe, which includes lip balms that smell and taste like Hostess Cup Cakes, Ho Hos, Twinkies, Fruit Pie in apple flavor, Ding Dongs and Sno Balls.
The products are currently shipping into Claire’s, Walgreens and Limited Too. The suggested retail is $1.99. In the second phase of Bake Shoppe, the actual packaging will resemble the products. For example, items will be packed in a plastic cupcake.
Coming for back-to-school will be Cinnabon products, which also will be sold at Cinnabon shops. “Clearly we are linking with the biggest and best brands. It makes the business about more than just the latest componentry,” said Fogelson. Also on tap for Lotta Luv will be a deal with Pillsbury as well as expansion with its candy brands into toothpaste and toothbrushes.
Added Extras is also fattening up its selection of products bearing famous candy brands. “We have some of the best-known names in novelty candies such as Ring Pops, Mike & Ikes and Sour Patch,” said Michael Kaplan, vice president of sales at Added Extras. He thinks some of the fallout of other youth brands could open the door for more footage of the licensed names.
One brand that seems untouchable when it comes to marketing to youth is Bonne Bell. Even Bonne Bell is leveraging well-known names with the launch of six soft drink flavors to its Lip Smackers line. The company has had a deal with Dr. Pepper for several years and is now adding 7 Up, Cherry 7 Up, Grape Crush, Orange Crush and A&W.
While Bonne Bell hangs on to its space at retailers, some industry experts wonder what will happen to Caboodles. One of the pioneers of marketing to youths, the brand is being shopped around. Already some others are eyeing its precious shelf space. To date, youth brands have had to be content with promotional displays. Even Jane, another first to market to teens, hasn’t been able to expand its market share.
While some marketers turn to candy or soda names, others are looking to celebrities such as Wal-Mart’s MaryKate and Ashley or Stuff by Hilary Duff. Some retailers aren’t even sure there is a need for special teen products. “Teens don’t want items singled out for them,” said a source at a top drug store chain. She isn’t convinced candy or other licenses are a sure hit.
A source at a specialty chain, however, said the candy items have been moving “extremely well,” especially when teamed up with related accessories such as necklaces.
While looking for teen items at NACDS, buyers also will be looking for products to serve more mature shoppers, especially in the area of skin care. “I expect skin care to continue to be important and that fits really well in the drug store,” said May’s Drug Store’s buyer Carrie Cox.