This story first appeared in the December 12, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
It’s tough to move a grande dame of a brand into the makeup bags of teens and twenty-somethings—but Dior has proven itself adept at doing just that since Pamela Baxter joined the company in 2003. Today, Baxter, the president and chief executive officer of LVMH Perfumes and Cosmetics NA and president of Christian Dior Inc., and her team have crafted a strategy to keep Dior relevant for everyone from teens to septuagenarians. Socialites and the hoi polloi alike were atwitter at the signing of Park Avenue princess Tinsley Mortimer as brand ambassador (her signature shade of lip gloss was a hit at Saks), while hipsters were targeted when 19-year-old Harley Viera-Newton was named Dior Beauty’s in-house DJ. The brand also garnered a strong youth following in Sephora with fashion-driven palettes and backstage-inspired products, such as DiorShow mascara, as well as a strong presence on Facebook and MySpace. Still, the less tech-savvy weren’t forgotten. Advertising featuring Charlize Theron and Sharon Stone garnered a more traditional (and mature) audience. The multitiered approach is resulting in sales growth, said The NPD Group’s Karen Grant. “A lot of established brands are getting older and their percentage of consumers in younger age groups is declining,” she said, “whereas Dior seems to be bucking that trend.” Grant noted Dior was particularly strong in color, moving up two slots to number seven. “While the rest of the market was struggling, they were having an outstanding year,” Grant said. “To be doing this in a market that’s so challenged when you’re not a lower–price point brand is something to be recognized.”
Nicky Kinnaird Space NK
From The Beatles to James Bond, there’s been many a British invasion. But call this a Belfast invasion—in the form of Nicky Kinnaird and her Space NK specialty stores. The Northern Ireland native, who opened her first store in London in 1996, is well on her way to replicating her U.K. success in the U.S. Across the pond, Space NK has 61 stores. In this country, expansion is twofold—via in-store boutiques at Bloomingdale’s (there will be nine by the end of the year), as well as freestanding stores. The Bloomingdale’s partnership happened after Michael Gould, the retailer’s chairman, personally reached out to Kinnaird to suggest a deal. His enthusiasm remained unbridled. “I’ve had the pleasure of cutting a lot of ribbons over the years,” Gould said at the opening of Space NK’s corner in the 59th Street flagship in New York, “but at no time in the last 17 years have I felt this proud.” But Kinnaird’s success isn’t just due to new stores: It’s all in the mix, baby. This year, she brought on such varied brands as Sonia Kashuk color cosmetics (previously only available at Target) and Jemma Kidd, as well as Ren, Nia 24 and Leonor Greyl skin and hair care. Kinnaird also continued her excursion into private label products, launching five scents under the Space NK banner to celebrate her store’s 15th anniversary in flacons created by Fabien Baron.
—Matthew W. Evans
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When it came to beauty this year, Target hit the mark. Its signature Sonia Kashuk line got some high-placed friends—makeup artists Jemma Kidd, Napoleon Perdis and Petra Strand. With the addition of affordable brands from these upscale names, Target is out to prove it can do in cosmetics what it has developed in housewares and clothing with designers such as Michael Graves, Liz Lange and Proenza Schouler. The lines are less-expensive, tweaked versions of the artists’ existing prestige lines. Each is displayed in an 11-foot presentation with lighting and bold graphics complete with each pro’s philosophy. The designers are also highlighted in television, print and online advertising. Testers have been problematic in self-serve environments, but Target made testers and vibrant displays a mandate with these lines, since many consumers were getting their first introductions to the artists in the store. Industry sources said they expect the new beauty set to generate between $45 million and $60 million in first-year sales. The three makeup artist lines were just one of many initiatives this year. Target continued to fine-tune its beauty mix, hoping to find the right products and design to convert department store shoppers to mass. The company improved the presentation of hair coloring with an educational display suggesting which brands to buy for coverage needs. Also, about 500 stores added professional skin care sets featuring independently sourced brands including Clarins, Kiehl’s, Origins and StriVectin.
Esi Eggleston Bracey Proctor & Gamble
Since 2000, P&G’s Cover Girl business has catapulted to a number-one market share in North America and has realized its strongest growth since the company acquired it. It’s no coincidence that Esi Eggleston Bracey joined P&G Cosmetics at that time, as Cover Girl marketing director. Now, as vice president of global cosmetics managing the Cover Girl and Max Factor brands, she oversees more than 700 people and over $2 billion in sales, and has been responsible for building a roster of influential spokesmodels and delivering strong sales for both brands with unique products such as whitening lip gloss and highlighting mascaras. Cover Girl delivered its seventh consecutive year of share growth this past fiscal year ended July, and earlier this year the brand signed megastar Ellen DeGeneres as a spokesperson, following last year’s signings of Drew Barrymore and Rihanna. Max Factor also felt the Eggleston Bracey touch, as global growth on the brand is in the double digits. It’s now the number-one cosmetics brand in more than 20 countries. The Chicago native also can take credit for the biggest initiative in P&G’s cosmetics history: The launch of Cover Girl Lash Blast, which became the number-one mascara in just four months—a position it maintains today. And at retail, Eggleston Bracey has made it her mission to improve the shopping experience in the mass channel by reinventing the look of Cover Girl—much of the packaging has been updated to more premium designs and graphics.