NEW YORK — With competition from megabrands such as L’Oréal and Cover Girl, it can be hard for a company with one mass market item to get much notice.

Retailers’ demands are so intense that many merchants ask for guaranteed sales while others shun items without national advertising. However, truly unique products are still getting into stores such as a lipstick sealer called ColorSave.

ColorSave will shortly ship into select Walgreens, Kroger and Marsh Supermarkets. ColorSave is already a hit in upscale independents such as White’s Pharmacy in the Hamptons and Manhattan’s Zitomer.

“We put it right by Clinique and we sell so many because people want to know how to keep their lipstick on,” said Elise Marmon at White’s Drug. “It blows the competition away and we get tremendous repeat business.”

ColorSave allows women to use their own lip color and pencil, in cream or matte, and finish it off with a brush-on application designed to extend color performance and wear for at least eight hours. ColorSave Lipstick sealer is packaged in a 5-ml. bottle and carries a suggested retail price of $6.99. The item is blister-packed for display on walls, endcaps or hanging on hooks near lipsticks.

The competition in the long-wear lip color segment includes the array of transfer proof lipsticks such as ColorStay and LipFinity, as well other sealers such as Sealed With a Kiss.

Some women, disappointed by the dryness of traditional transfer-proof brands, are using a second product to seal lipstick. The seals work especially well with creamy lipsticks, which account for about half of all lipstick sales. Industry sources estimate ColorSave could hit retail sales of at least $7 million per year. The company hopes to be in 5,000 outlets by yearend.

“We’ve been looking at the sealer market for 12 years,” said Jim Klosterman, director of marketing for ColorStay, which also markets products to salons. Existing products, he contends, dry lips out, burn or don’t last long enough. Klosterman said ColorSave is drink-proof, eat-proof, smudge-proof, kiss-proof and waterproof. Plus, the product halts feathering of lipstick around the mouth.

While no national advertising is in the immediate plans, ColorSave gets some heavy promotion from Broadway actors. According to Klosterman, casts in nine major Broadway productions are currently using it.Since it is hard to be a one-item mass market company, Klosterman said the firm is working on spa type products to bring to retail. “We’re looking to bring the same innovation we have with ColorSave to that market,” he said.

The Chain Drug Marketing Association, flush with success from its private label skin care called Essentials for Skin, has now shipped its color cosmetics line called Color Essentials in many of its members’ stores. The association has created a 4-foot fixture to house the line with a smaller display also in the works. The goal is to provide a high-quality proprietary line. “We’re very pleased with the repeat sales on skin care because people see the quality,” said Jim Devine, president of CDMA. “We are hoping for the same with cosmetics.” The line helps smaller retailers who may not have the capabilities to produce their own lines to get the private label beauty business.

Essentials for beauty consists of 175 stockkeeping units priced from $5.50 for a nail lacquer to $16 for an eye shadow quad palette. The 4-foot fixture is illuminated and holds 795 pieces, including 744 color and 51 of the Essentials for Skin items.

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