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A Nip and a Tuck for Too Faced

Too Faced is out to keep beauty fun.

Too Faced is out to keep beauty fun.

Over the past several months, Too Faced president Lynda Berkowitz and co-founders Jerrod Blandino and Jeremy Johnson thought long and hard about Too Faced’s place in the cosmetics market. They concluded that Too Faced — not an austere artistry brand although Blandino is a makeup artist, and not a clinical brand despite technology-driven ingredients — provides a cheerful, affordable alternative to buttoned-up brands and should communicate to consumers as much.

“We have really taken a close look at our DNA,” said Berkowitz, who was named president late last year after holding executive posts at Bobbi Brown and Perricone MD Cosmeceuticals.

Too Faced has been making moves to emphasize its not-so-serious side and has subsequently tweaked its retail gondolas to play up a feminine boudoir feel. It is also putting Blandino front and center with TV appearances (he hosts the “Beauty School” segment on E Entertainment Television’s show “The Daily Ten”) and a book deal in the works. Blandino has entrepreneurial chops, having ascended from behind an Estée Lauder counter to co-owning an estimated $65 million brand.

The brand has shored up its sales force as well: It brought on board two U.S. regional sales directors — Nancy Kinney on the West Coast and Karey Welch on the East Coast — to coach sales teams about Too Faced’s differentiated positioning. To grow international sales, Too Faced recently hired Leah Hundsness, formerly director of international sales for Smashbox Cosmetics and director of marques exclusives at Sephora in Paris, as senior vice president of international sales and marketing.

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Too Faced believes it has enormous untapped potential abroad and plans to enter China next year. The brand’s international presence is largely dependent on Sephora in Europe. Berkowitz said international sales account for less than 20 percent of Too Faced’s business, but she hopes it can reach 45 percent in around two years. “This has been such a U.S., domestically driven business,” said Berkowitz. “Our global opportunities are endless.”

Domestically, Blandino, Berkowitz and Johnson noted Too Faced hasn’t seen the drastic sales declines that have wounded other brands. Blandino said the U.S. business is “comping 40 percent” this year, and Berkowitz forecast the brand would grow 20 percent this year globally. Too Faced is sold at more than 600 U.S. doors, including Ulta and Sephora. They also suggested Too Faced’s affordability has helped it woo and retain consumers during the recession. Most, if not all, of the brand’s some 135 stockkeeping units are less than $45 at retail. The brand has kept its sharp price points a pillar of the business as it relocated manufacturing from China to the U.S. this year. “It was really about our reputation, our longevity,” said Blandino of the manufacturing shift. “Part of value is quality. When you dip into a shadow, and it’s sheer and it’s crap, that’s not value.”

Too Faced is now working to attract consumers to the brand’s core products. “We really own that niche palette business, but not so much the core,” said Berkowitz. “Our customers, who are totally addicted to glam products, they are buying their basics somewhere, it just hasn’t been from us.” In the fall, the brand launched a $34 Natural Eye Neutral Eye Shadow Collection that became among its best-selling products upon release.

Of course, Too Faced is keen on continuing the successes of its key Injection and Insurance franchises. Lashlight, a $25 mascara containing LED bulbs in the wand and crystalline particles in the formula that was launched exclusively at Sephora last month, is following the path paved by Lash Injection, the brand’s number-one stockkeeping unit. Lip Insurance, which expands the Insurance franchise from Too Faced’s number-two sku Shadow Insurance, will be introduced for $18.50 in the spring along with $19 Glamour Gloss lip glosses.