Why Salma Matters

When the invitation arrived for a launch at CVS announcing a brand supported by Salma Hayek, there was excitement, but also concern over whether a celebrity-endorsed line was just another face behind products that wouldn’t resonate with shoppers.

That question was answered within one minute of Hayek’s appearance at the trendy Mondrian Hotel last week. Hayek is in it to win it with the line called Nuance Salma Hayek. It consists of 100 items across skin, hair and cosmetics with ingredients she insisted on from her grandmother’s beauty secrets. From the start of the event, she engaged with attendees and showed her vast knowledge of the line. She spoke from the heart about her grandmother and how she could sell these items anywhere, but wanted to make them accessible to all. Price points range from $2.99 for small shampoos to $19.99 for an antiaging super cream.

CVS executives were also very accommodating to press allowing questions about the products — why an exclusive, why Hayek, why across so many categories? The team spearheaded by Mike Bloom, executive vice president merchandising, supply chain, marketing and advertising, and Cheryl Mahoney, vice president merchandise manager beauty care, personal care, and Grant Pill, vice president and merchandise manager of store brands, answered myriad questions about the brand they are obviously glowing about. Hayek, they agreed, has the financial wherewithal to do a brand on her own, but liked the synergy with CVS chemists. Both parties said there were obstacles along the way, but the end result is one all are proud to sell. “She is doing this for the passion; not the piggybank,” confirmed Pill. “And we didn’t want to just license some name. We wanted her passion.”

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Added Hayek, “I fell in love with them [CVS]. They’ve been patient and listened to me even when I was a nightmare,” she said, illustrating the partnership with a story detailing CVS’ interest in making a wipe to take advantage of the growing wipe market but conceded to abandon that plan when Hayek didn’t think it was up to her standards. “They didn’t just think I was some crazy Mexican with witchcraft ingredients,” she joked.

Exclusive brands aren’t new to retailers. CVS has its own lines, such as Essence of Beauty and Skin Effects by Jeffrey Dover, while Duane Reade tried Apartment 5 and Walgreens tested IsaDora. While exclusives are met with mixed reviews, this one has huge support behind it and could become the first big success of an exclusive logo.

There is a commitment to service with beauty advisors in 800 doors who will be trained to sell all areas of Nuance. It will also be backed by CVS’ Beauty Club, an offshoot of its successful ExtraCare program. The Beauty Club attracted seven million members in less than three months. Those Beauty Club members will be among the first to get the news of Nuance and be offered special sampling offers. There will also be other social media campaigns including a Facebook page. There are opportunities for videos staring Hayek who can explain the ingredients and what they accomplish. “I wish I could go into everyone’s home and explain these products,” she said. CVS executives said that in a sense, with social media, she can.

CVS’ Mahoney said there’s ongoing editing in CVS’ merchandise assortment to make room for Nuance, but that not one entire line or category will be sacrificed. In fact, the SKU count has been kept tight and edited. “It’s not about having every color, but rather a tightly focused mix that makes it easier to shop,” Pill said.

For CVS, Nuance brings a level of product that still has eluded drugstore retailers. Despite many upgrades, lines such as Clinique are not opening doors to mass. It also combines the beauty of some natural ingredients with a Latino heritage that will attract multicultural shoppers. What may at first have seemed like a launch with many questions has turned into what seems to be a smart, savvy move to differentiate CVS from competitors.

People, Places and Things

A few words with Diana Dolling Ross at festivities to celebrate the 50th anniversary of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” at City Chemist in Brooklyn. The gathering was also a benefit for Julien’s Project Ladybug Fund at Memorial Sloan Kettering, a project spearheaded by Dina Manzo of “Real Housewives.” The store was packed with women of all ages in black dresses and pearls to honor the film based on the novel by Truman Capote who lived within walking distance of the shop.

WWDBeautyNews: What were some of the features at the event?
Dolling Ross: Customers were treated to facials by Caudalie, Facials & Audrey inspired makeup by Dr. Hauschka.  A makeup artist from Smashbox was also on hand to help find shoppers’ “inner Holly Golightly.” One of the educators and top stylist from Bumble & bumble was on hand to offer styling consultation. All services were with purchase. 


Breakfast treats and champagne were served, the movie was shown on three television screens, as well as trivia. The customers loved the event, they take great pride in the history of their literary neighborhood. They have embraced City Chemist as their beauty apothecary.

What items are you selling?
Dolling Ross: We are a first for many prestige brands carried here. I ask the consumer what brands will keep them from buying their beauty products in Manhattan, and then I convince the brands to join me.


We will launch Laura Mercier in September and we are thrilled that we are the first store in Brooklyn to carry the brand.

What’s In Store

La Roche-Posay Expands SOS — Save Our Skin Sun Safety Initiative With Strategic Partnerships: La Roche-Posay announced it will kick off the second year of its SOS — Save Our Skin campaign. The goal of SOS — Save Our Skin is to not only inform Americans about the dangers of UV rays and the importance of sun safety, but to also incite true behavioral change, such as incorporating sun protection in their daily routines and visiting their dermatologists for regular skin checks. In its first year, the SOS  online campaign reached thousands of people and drew hundreds more for skin checks at a variety of events. In a third of those skin checks, suspicious lesions were found that resulted in dermatologist referrals for further investigation. This year, La Roche-Posay hopes to broaden its reach through viral and grassroots campaigns.
The focus of this year’s SOS  campaign will continue to be education and skin checks, the campaign’s two most important tenets. To promote education, more than 8,000 kits will be distributed to dermatologists, which contain all the tools to educate patients regarding a proper skin check. The campaign will also contain a viral component, including the new iPhone application, “My UV Check,” which will provide an index for the day’s UVA and UVB exposure in the user’s location, educate and alert users of the dangers of UVA and UVB exposure and much more.

Calgon Take Me Away: Calgon is launching two new collections in addition to new scents and products. The collections come at a time as the bath category is bubbling back and many women continue to utter the iconic slogan≥Calgon Take Me Away!


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