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Platinum Targets Mature Shoppers

NEW YORK -- The rush to create products for tweens and teens has left a gap in mass market beauty.<P>Added Extras, a company credited with building brands for teens, is now hoping to do the same for more mature shoppers.<P>"We've had so many...

NEW YORK — The rush to create products for tweens and teens has left a gap in mass market beauty.

Added Extras, a company credited with building brands for teens, is now hoping to do the same for more mature shoppers.

“We’ve had so many requests to provide something for ladies 24 to 40,” said Michael Kaplan, vice president of sales for Added Extras NYC. The answer from his firm is Liquid Platinum, a new collection of lip, eye and nail items.

What helps position Liquid Platinum for mature women is its sleek platinum packaging and sophisticated colors. Several retailers who had seen the line said it would provide them something different than traditional colors from Revlon, L’Oreal or Maybelline.

“There really hasn’t been much excitement outside of teens,” said Kaplan. “We hope this will fill the void.” While teens have tremendous spending power, women over 25 are the biggest shopping group at drug and discount stores, according to retailers.

Liquid Platinum consists of 72 stockkeeping units carrying suggested retail prices ranging from $6 to $10. An acrylic counter-top display that can be positioned at the checkout is being used to introduce the line. A peg program for the wall is also available. The products are currently shipping and another 24 items will be shipped in time for holiday 2002.

Although Liquid Platinum is definitely not a youth line, the company has borrowed from its stable of younger brands to make the collection edgier than traditional cosmetics brands. For example, there’s an item called Lips and Tips, which combines boldly colored lipsticks and matching nail enamels. There’s also a color wheel with a combination of eye colors. Additionally, Liquid Platinum colors are stylish, without being too trendy. “We will freshen up the colors every six months,” explained Tia Whiteside, senior merchandising director. “There are older women who still want something fun.”

Kaplan hopes the line brings department store quality to mass pricing. “All items are merchandised for value,” said Kaplan. “In our lip gloss, you get five colors for what you might pay for one [from a prestige line].”

There has already been interest in Liquid Platinum from specialty stores, mass marketers and even department store companies looking to offer value pricing to savvy consumers, Kaplan added. A variation of the line can also be repackaged as a proprietary label such as that currently sold by Gadzooks. Department store companies such as Federated and May Co. have expressed interest in selling more moderately priced collections like She She and CMe, which are manufactured by Caboodles.

“This will definitely be a vehicle to take us into new doors,” said Kaplan. He predicted that specialty stores, which recently have reduced beauty assortments, would be jumping back into the business in a big way within the next year. He lists Claire’s, Charlotte Russe, Hot Topic, Old Navy and Mandee as a handful of the companies hoping to grab more of the beauty business.

This is Added Extras’ first foray into marketing more mature products. The company is already one of the innovators in youth cosmetics. The major vehicle is its Body Charms logo. And the company has plans for additional youth merchandise set to bow within the next few months.

At last month’s National Association of Chain Drug Stores Marketplace meeting in San Diego, a council formed by NACDS and American Greetings presented a study suggesting avenues for retailers to “sell one more item.” The work revealed that cosmetics is one of the highest impulse buys in the store. Twenty-three percent of cosmetics buys are unplanned, according to the study. That ranks third behind food and cards-gifts. Retailers participating in the council suggested that more be done with cosmetics to expose shoppers in other parts of the store. For example, some chains are going to start merchandising value-priced cosmetics at the checkout counter.”