NEW YORK — The Philosophy story is about to get a lot more colorful.
The feel good beauty brand, which was acquired by the private equity firm the Carlyle Group in January, has designs to introduce a full-fledged cosmetics line, perhaps as early as spring 2008, and has tapped Kevyn Aucoin Beauty co-founder Eric Sakas for the purpose.
The line marks Philosophy's second attempt at color. At the time of the brand's launch in 1996, the Phoenix firm had an array of makeup products, including Soul Eye Shadows, He Makes Me Blush and Complete Me Mineral Makeup. Philosophy discontinued the effort in 2000, and has since peppered its offering of skin, hair care and fragrance products with a handful of makeup items.
Now, as part of an ongoing effort to round out its beauty range and evolve into a lifestyle brand, Philosophy plans to introduce a color cosmetics line that suits its "makeup optional" positioning.
"‘Makeup optional' never meant 'makeup never,'" clarified Cristina Carlino, founder and executive chairman of Philosophy. In December, Carlino recruited Sakas as director of color development to create the cosmetics line. "Eric brings the focus to color cosmetics that I lacked. He approaches things simply, just like Philosophy," said Carlino. She added that the company's new chief executive officer, E. Michael McNamara, considered color cosmetics a top priority. The former Neutrogena Corp. executive officially comes aboard May 15.
Referring to the upcoming introduction of color, Carlino promised, "This will not be a quite launch. There will be bells and whistles."
Sakas, who is based here and travels to the Phoenix headquarters monthly, rose through the beauty ranks at Kevyn Aucoin Beauty, a brand he cofounded with Aucoin, his longtime business partner and companion.
After Aucoin's death in 2002, Sakas continued to run the brand as creative director and president until he left the company in May 2006. Declaring that his post at Philosophy is his "dream job," Sakas said, "I have had the opportunity to work with Kevyn, who was visionary in what he achieved, and now I'm working with another visionary, Cristina."He continued, "Kevyn was someone who taught me to strive to do my best," said Sakas. "He achieved a high level of success in the world of beauty and fashion, but it came at a price: hard work. By being around one of the most creative artists in this industry, and seeing the business through Kevyn's eyes, I've developed a keen sense of what works and what doesn't."
Sakas, who deems the current state of the cosmetics industry as "sensory overload," said, "There is a real need for a point of view."
He acknowledged that Carlino had created a brand that hinges on the premise of "makeup optional, not makeup required," and that the cosmetics line would be designed to complement that approach. "It's about revealing oneself, not concealing yourself," he said, noting the Philosophy customer may not subscribe to every fashion trend, but she wants products that work. The products will also reflect Philosophy's quirky, fun-loving tone. "Everything should have a sense of humor, but these products will really stand up," he emphasized.
The launch date has not been set, but Sakas said there are initial plans to unveil the line at retail next spring. Philosophy executives would not comment on sales, but industry sources forecast the cosmetics line could bolster company sales by 6 percent and color sales by 50 percent in 2008. Philosophy, which is sold in Sephora and on QVC, is believed to have reaped net wholesale volume of roughly $120 million to $150 million in 2006.
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