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Beauty Industry Veterans Launching Note Professional Cosmetics in the Americas

Note Professional Cosmetics aims to bring prestige beauty products to a broad audience.

Those searching for premium cosmetics without premium prices, take note: Note Professional Cosmetics is designed to deliver excellent payoff while not making beauty shoppers pay a lot.

Launched in Istanbul two years ago, Jeffrey Ten, a veteran of NYX, P&G, Markwins, Avon and Estée Lauder, is spearheading the brand’s expansion into the Americas. In three to five years, his goal is to guide Note to $60 million in wholesale sales and $150 million in retail sales in the territory.

“This is something that’s new: real luxury at a mass price,” said Ten. “It’s a high-end luxury line in terms of formulation, and is going to be one of the largest prestige-quality lines of shades and colors in this price point. We are looking for sophisticated customers that, when they touch and feel this, will be as happy to use it as they are using Chanel and Tom Ford.”

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Note is starting in July in the Americas with 293 stockkeeping units priced on average at $10, but the assortment will grow to 500 stockkeeping units by the end of this year. The brand is extending its selection of foundation shades for the market. In addition, it will sell a mineral makeup collection that’s slightly more expensive at $15 to $30.

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“This is a multiethnic brand. Everyone says they have shades for you, but we really do,” said Ten. He pointed out Note will feature African-American, Latina, Caucasian and Asian models in its brand imagery to demonstrate its appeal to a diverse group of customers.

Ten’s distribution strategy is to take Note first to professional beauty outlets before branching into home shopping television and specialty retail. His rationale is twofold: the professional beauty channel gets Note in the hands of makeup artists, who he believes will spread the word about the brand’s quality makeup, and affords him an opportunity to iron any wrinkles out before entering large retailers.

“If you go too fast and go into too many stores, and you are not getting traction, then you collapse. A mistake color, skin care and perfume companies make is they get greedy,” said Ten. “I am going very slowly with this brand. We are not looking to put quick points on the board. It is a long-term plan.”

Ten has assembled a small team to carry out the long-term plan. Based in Culver City, Calif., it includes vice president of marketing Tonie Shin, former vice president of marketing at NYX, and operations specialist Teresa Romano Broome, previously vice president of operations at Cargo Cosmetics. The consultancy ProBeauty Partners has also been enlisted help build Note in the U.S., which Ten anticipates will account for 70 percent of the brand’s total sales in the Americas region.

Owned by Stern Tek Cosmetics, a subsidiary of the German firm Altona Cosmetics Technology Group, Note is able to keep its prices low by manufacturing merchandise at its own production facility. Ten visited the facility in November, but was convinced Note could be a success outside of Europe even before his visit. “I was sent some samples, and I immediately sent them to Tonie Shin because I know she’s connected to makeup artists. She sent the brand to makeup artists, and they just loved it,” he recounted.

Note will rely primarily on social media to raise awareness in the Americas. Within the next few months, the brand is set to kick off a social media campaign tapping influencers spanning beauty, music, fashion and food as ambassadors. Influencers and costumers will be invited to incorporate the hashtag #getnoted in posts. “As social media is now driving top beauty sales, we will be looking to integrate our sales efforts with our social media efforts,” said Ten, mentioning Note’s direct-to-consumer business in the Americas will begin in July. “We will be nimble and looking to not just reflect the trends, but set them as well.”