Reverse lip liner by DuWop

NEW YORK — When conventional means of keeping lipstick in its place failed them, two cosmetic entrepreneurs decided to take a reverse approach. <br><br>Cristina Bartolucci and Laura DeLuisa, the creators of DuWop — best known for Lip Venom...

NEW YORK — When conventional means of keeping lipstick in its place failed them, two cosmetic entrepreneurs decided to take a reverse approach.

This story first appeared in the November 25, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Cristina Bartolucci and Laura DeLuisa, the creators of DuWop — best known for Lip Venom — have developed Reverse Lipliner, a pencil that is used outside of the lips to keep color from bleeding and feathering.

The clear, matte formula is completely undetectable, works with gloss and, in typical DuWop style, has an additional benefit. While developing the liner in the lab, DuWop’s chemist introduced Bartolucci and DeLuisa to Kombuchka, an ingredient that helps to fill fine lines and plump the area around the lip. But even with the addition of the “miracle ingredient,” the pair emphasizes the liner’s main purpose.

“No matter how careful you are when you put on lipliner, it fades away and you’re still left with this line,” said Bartolucci. “The concept of Reverse Lipliner is to really allow you to create a lip with no harsh edge. The plumping agent for the fine lines was just kind of an added bonus.”

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Reverse Lipliner is packaged in a clear, plastic tube with a customized sharpener and retails for $18. It will launch in Nordstrom by the end of the year, and at Henri Bendel, Fred Segal and other high-end boutiques in mid-January.

Lipliner isn’t the only thing DuWop does in reverse.

The firm began the year in 500 doors, and in April began narrowing distribution to 300. “We want to be in doors that partner with us, not just sell our product,” said DeLuisa. And with the addition of major accounts like Nordstrom and Sephora, DuWop’s distribution is on its way back up, currently in about 350 doors.

The company recently launched Lip Venom and Hands 2 Hair, a hair crème that doubles as a hand lotion, at Sephora and the complete product line at Sephora.com. DeLuisa estimated first- week sales at the store to be $75,000 and expects that number to grow to more than $300,000 by Christmas. She attributes some of the early success to Oprah Winfrey. The talk-show host featured DuWop’s Revolotion on her show the week the brand launched at Sephora.

An independent brand, DuWop doesn’t spend much on advertising and relies on “buzz marketing,” handing out products to friends in film and television.

“Buzz marketing is based on authenticity and we want to be able to grow and stay authentic,” said DeLuisa. With celebrity fans like Jennifer Garner, Cindy Crawford, Heather Locklear, Brittany Murphy and Holly Hunter, it seems to be an effective approach.

Bartolucci and DeLuisa said they’ll finish their take on lip pencils with six more colors and then venture into blush. Though they wouldn’t divulge any details, they said it will be unlike any blush they’ve ever tried. The pair maintains that though DuWop will expand into a complete color line over the next few years, they plan on introducing one product at a time.

“The last thing the world needs is another makeup company churning out lipsticks and eye shadows. There are enough of them,” said Bartolucci.

Emily Farris

Wella Sets Meeting Date

BERLIN — The Wella Group said it expects to hold a general shareholders meeting on Feb. 3. It did not release further details.

The meeting is being called at the request of minority shareholders, who maintain that they were treated unfairly, if not illegally, in Procter & Gamble’s takeover of Wella. Wella said minority shareholders have requested a special audit, but added that “there is no reason for such a proposal. The criticism that has been made against the management board in connection with the takeover of Wella by Procter & Gamble is both unjustified and inappropriate.”

In the meantime, over at Germany’s other major “taken-over” beauty company, Beiersdorf, the supervisory board extended the contract of chairman of the executive board Rolf Kunisch’s for a further two years. Thomas-Berndt Quaas, the Wella board member in charge of ”supply chain,” was signed on for another five years.

Melissa Drier

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