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Bare Escentuals Outlines Expansion Formula

Touchy-feely resonates - even in a room full of navy-suited investors.

NEW YORK — Touchy-feely resonates — even in a room full of navy-suited investors.

At Piper Jaffray’s 28th Annual Consumer Conference, held here earlier this week at the St. Regis Hotel, Bare Escentuals Inc. declared its proclivity to break the rules when it comes to cosmetics and sell products with a personal approach.

After all, using its “girlfriend” sales approach the company has persuaded legions of women to ditch their liquid foundation for mineral powder, noted Jim Taschetta, chief marketing officer of Bare Escentuals. Doing things differently seems to have worked in the company’s favor. Bare Escentuals is currently the leading beauty infomercial and the number-one brand on QVC and in Ulta and Sephora, said Taschetta.

He declared that Bare Escentuals’ success in the foundation category has provided the company with a formula to bring in new users. The core growth strategies include growing its number of foundation users and then leveraging that base to expand into eye, lip and skin care products. Bare Escentuals plans to implement that same formula globally.

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The company so far has a small consumer base. At present, nearly 74 percent of women are aware of mineral makeup, but only about 25 percent have tried it, according to the company. That said, Taschetta noted 60 percent of women polled report they are somewhat or extremely likely to try mineral foundation.

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To guide their hand, Bare Escentuals this fall will introduce a refreshed Get Started Kit with a consistent price point of $60 across all channels. The kit, said Taschetta, is the number-one way women begin using the brand. The revamped kit will be supported by some 900,000 samples at retail.

Taschetta said the company is also heavily investing to build its skin care business, which currently consists of three RareMinerals products. The company launched the franchise in 2006 with a nighttime treatment product and recently added RareMinerals Blemish Therapy and Facial Cleanser.

According to the company’s research, 78 percent of women surveyed report that they would like to see skin care products from Bare Escentuals. He added the company is bent on creating a complete skin care range with a “good for you” positioning over the next few years.

The company also is working to reach beyond the TV airwaves of QVC and infomercials.

The firm’s chief financial officer Myles McCormick said, “We have a very democratic brand and message and we need a distribution strategy that mirrors that.” He added the brand has potential to sell its wares in 2,300 U.S. doors, up from its current base of about 790.

Taschetta acknowledged the slew of lower-priced mineral-based cosmetics to hit the market in the last several years, which have prompted some financial experts to wonder if Bare Escentuals will maintain its edge. Citing the 20 awards the company received last year — much of which were consumer voted — Taschetta said, “We certainly haven’t run out of steam in consumers belief in us.”