David Suliteanu is an unlikely revolutionary. A retail veteran, he began his career at Bullocks in Los Angeles and steadily worked his way up the department store ranks to the position of vice chairman and director of stores at Macy’s East. He then spent two years as group president of diversified businesses at The Home Depot before joining Sephora in 2000. Under his tenure as president and chief executive officer, the number of stores has quintupled and sales have grown by a factor of 14. Suliteanu’s strategy basically lays in forgetting everything he learned as a department store retailer, making him the perfect choice for the cover of our Renegade issue, in which we’re celebrating those who have pioneered new ways to do business—and won.
“The predominant language spoken by retailers was a brand language. It was developed by the department store approach, which was brand- centric and continues to be brand-centric today,” Suliteanu told me over the course of my reporting for “Forging a New Model.” “Our approach from the beginning was never brand-centric. It was always client-centric.” That approach has led Sephora to implement some unorthodox—and extremely successful—methods for selling beauty products, be it by singling out a mere six products from thousands as the month’s must-buys or setting up in-store play stations where patrons can do anything from manicures to makeovers. Suliteanu’s current goal is equally audacious: to become the number-one prestige beauty retailer in America. Find out the strategy he and his senior management team have devised to achieve just that.
Sephora was instrumental in the indie-brand boom of the late Nineties. Such brands brought energy, youth and animation to beauty counters across the country. A decade later, they, like Sephora, are now well established, leading some retailers and industry analysts in search of the next generation of game-changing ideas. But as WWD’s beauty financial editor, Molly Prior, reports in “No Bed of Roses,” cultivating and growing an independent makeup brand today is much more challenging than it was a decade ago. Discover today’s emerging indies, and what it will take for them to navigate through the thorny issues confronting them.
As a perfumer at IFF for eight years, Christophe Laudamiel could be considered a card-carrying member of the establishment. But Laudamiel, who has a master’s degree in chemistry, grew frustrated with the commercial fragrance world and struck out on his own to expand the parameters of perfumery. As outspoken as he is inventive, Laudamiel shares his vision with WWD’s executive editor of beauty, Pete Born, in “Agent Provocateur.” As you’ll see, Laudamiel isn’t shy about expressing his views, and we hope you’re not, either. Drop me a line at email@example.com and tell me what you think about this issue.
5 Key Points From This Issue
1. Girls Just Want to Have Fun: By pioneering a client-centric approach to retailing that emphasizes the shopping experience, Sephora has gobbled up market share in the U.S. beauty market.
2. Land of Opportunity: In South America, standout brands have strong color statements. Fragrance-wise, designers dominate.
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)
@heriethpaul and @gracebol have a moment on the @victoriassecret fashion show 2017. See every look from the runway on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo) #wwdfashion #victoriassecret #VSFashionShow
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia