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NEW YORK — Grant Berry hopes a flat pencil will help retailers sharpen cosmetics sales.

This story first appeared in the April 11, 2003 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Both eye and lip makeup sales are growing — eye at a 4.4 percent rate and lip at a 10.6 percent rate — according to Information Resources Inc. However, retailers lament the lack of innovation. “There are few products that are really different,” said Marti Bentley, category manager for Duane Reade.

She thinks Berry has something unique with his new Flat Pencil. Berry, the founder of Styli-Style, also hopes his flat pencil is just what the business is looking for.

Resembling a carpenter’s pencil, Styli-Style’s flat makeup pencil can be used for multiple tasks. “With the Flat Pencil, you can draw an ultrathin line or use it as a shadow,” said Berry. He also said that the pencil could be used as a lipstick and lip liner. “Now, women can have their lip liner match. Before, women would find a color lipstick they liked and not find the same liner.”

The pencil can make a fine line for the delicate inside lower eyelid, as well. At a demonstration of the Flat Pencil, makeup artist Mally Roncal used the pencil to create an entire look. “It is so easy to use and although this may sound silly, since it is flat, it won’t roll off the table,” she added. She used Berry’s Flat Pencil on two models to show a smoky eye and a retro style.

The introduction of a flat pencil creates the question of how to sharpen it. Berry worked in tandem with an engineer to create a special sharpener that “tricks the pencil into thinking it is round,” he said. The sharpener leaves the pencil with a razor edge that is perfect for lining. For retailers, the sharpener yields a multiple sales opportunity.

Berry would not comment on sales, but industry sources said the Flat Pencil and sharpener could add $2 million to $5 million to the Styli-Style franchise.

The pencils, which are available for eyes and lips, retail for $8 each and the sharpener is priced at $4. Berry hopes to have the array of 14 colors in 5,000 doors by back-to-school. Duane Reade, Eckerd, Longs Drug Stores and Shoppers Drug Mart are among the chains taking on the Flat Pencil. “In addition to being unique, I think it will do well,” added Duane Reade’s Bentley.

To keep it fresh, Berry hopes to add new shades yearly. He’s also planning his first advertising campaign for Styli-Style.

The Flat Pencil is Berry’s third introduction since he started Styli-Style two years ago. His debut was Line & Seal, a long-lasting liner, followed by L3, a collection of long-wearing products. Berry was also the founder of Lord & Berry, a company that helped usher in mass-market pencils in the Nineties. He sold Lord & Berry to AM Cosmetics and “sat and watched in the background” until his noncompetitive agreement expired. He jumped back into the business he’s grown up in (he is the son of makeup entrepreneur Madeleine Mono) with Styli-Style.

Berry doesn’t think going flat will flatten out sales of his existing pencils. He said the new line is different from his semipermanent products. He is giving his whole line a new twist at retail with a creative color-wheel floor stand, which allows retailers to add the products without revamping wall planograms.