Tara Simon

Tara Simon has been named senior vice president and global general manager of Too Faced, effective Aug. 31.

Simon is a retail veteran who was most recently senior vice president of merchandising at Ulta Beauty, where she is credited with establishing the retailer as a player in the prestige sector. She left that role in November. At Too Faced, she will report to John Demsey, executive group president of parent company The Estée Lauder Cos. Inc., and succeeds Eric Hohl, who is leaving the brand.

“Tara is a brand-builder,” said Demsey, who noted he met Simon more than two decades ago when she was a buyer at Foley’s in Houston. “She is inspirational, tough-minded and she is Texan-bold. Given her strength in building makeup in multi-specialty retail and understanding digital and new ways of selling, we thought this was an extraordinary opportunity.”

Simon has also worked closely with brand founders Jerrod Blandino and Jeremy Johnson, and her outgoing personality aligns well with the brand’s ethos.

“We’ve loved working with her in retailer market meetings over the years and truly appreciate her enthusiasm and support throughout our relationship,” said Blandino. “She always had a uniquely Too Faced spark and great perspective and outlook on the brand and the business.”

Lauder acquired Too Faced for $1.4 billion in 2016, its largest acquisition to date. The brand was one of the buzziest players in what was a boom time for makeup. Since, then, though, the category has declined dramatically, particularly in the U.S., a situation exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.

While Too Faced ranked number eight in the makeup category in the U.S. for the 12 months ending May 2020, according to The NPD Group, overall category sales plummeted, down 52 percent in the second quarter of this year.

Lauder is looking to Simon to help reverse that trajectory. “We didn’t buy Too Faced to be a niche brand,” said Demsey. “Granted, it’s been faced by the same challenges as everyone else, but we believe it has an extraordinary opportunity. It lives well in the world of digital and influence, and has the ability to move and inspire a younger generation.”

Demsey said Simon’s top priorities will be establishing a platform for growth in the U.S. and internationally, doubling down on attracting new customers and identifying white space that makes sense for the brand.

That could include hybrid products that capitalize on the “skin-ifcation” of makeup, rather than completely separate treatment products as Too Faced launched last year.

“Having a merchant as the head of the brand, shaping the innovation and the levers of brand development and helping Jerrod and Jeremy channel their creativity and leverage the Estée Lauder strengths will be hugely helpful,” said Demsey, who added that it’s also good for overall category growth.

“Our industry needs a few things to be successful for other things to be successful,” he said. “When people start to buy, they buy more. Having some products or successful new branded activities is good for the overall business.”

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