NEW YORK — Vive le catalog!

This story first appeared in the June 7, 2002 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

During a time when beauty sales are failing to astound, business at Le Club Createurs de Beaute is not only eking out an existence, but thriving. The French mail-order beauty catalog is experiencing a boom in sales and is set to launch a new brand and new products in its August issue.

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According to Olivier Allender, the general manager of the U.S. division of Le Club Createurs de Beaute, or CCB-Paris, sales have jumped nearly 60 percent this year in the U.S. alone. Worldwide, sales rose 10 to 20 percent.

While the company declined to give numbers, industry sources estimate the company will bring in sales of more than $182,560,000 worldwide in 2002. In addition, CCB-Paris projects that a million products will be distributed in the U.S. this year. Dollar figures are converted from the euro at current exchange rates.

“People look to us for exclusivity and for new concepts,” said Allender, who accepted the FiFi award for Best Women’s Packaging of the Year (in chain and non-store venues) on Tuesday night for Comedie by Michel Klein.

CCB-Paris — the company shortened its French name to facilitate communication between operators and U.S. customers — was originally conceived in 1987 and appeared in the U.S. in January 1999, after launching in Europe and Japan.

The catalog currently contains six brands spanning several beauty categories: Agnes B. cosmetics, Cosmence skin care created by Dr. Christine Poelman, hair care by Jean-Marc Maniatis and fragrances by Tan Giudicelli, Michel Klein and Corinne Cobson. Cosmetics accounts for more than 50 percent of total sales. All lines are exclusive to CCB-Paris except for the Agnes B. brand, which can be found in Agnes B. doors.

A seventh brand, Natural Sea Beauty, will be added to the roundup in August. Natural Sea Beauty, a bath line based on minerals from the Dead Sea, will launch with six items ranging from $15 to $20, a price level consistent with the rest of CCB-Paris’ offerings.

“We can afford to offer lower pricing because we manufacture and distribute ourselves,” noted Allender. Offices for CCB-Paris are based here, the company has a warehouse in Tennessee and a call center in Georgia.

Other August launches include several new Agnes B. luxury cosmetics items under the umbrella B. Very Chic and three new Cosmence products. Typically, the August catalog is the company’s second-largest issue, with approximately 64 pages containing 12 to 15 new launches. The largest issue, with approximately 92 pages and 20 new launches, is mailed out in January.

CCB-Paris currently has 4.5 million customers worldwide — 150,000 of which are in the U.S. Allender’s goal is to multiply the U.S. customer base by five — reaching between 500,000 and a million U.S. customers within the next 5 years.

So how is that goal achieved? For CCB-Paris, it’s a matter of continuing with its in-catalog sampling and special offers. “Offers and free gifts are part of CCB-Paris,” explained Allender. “Each catalog has a brand-new story with brand-new offers. It’s all about a new adventure and new gifts.”

The company also has a Web site,, which brings in 30 percent of total sales.”

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