The Warsaw-based Inglot Cosmetics is taking root in the U.S., with its vibrant, easy-to-navigate color palette.
Nearly three years after opening its first store in Times Square and a year after making a splash with a 5,600-square-foot studio in Chelsea, Inglot has set up shop inside the nation’s dominant department store, Macy’s. For the last three months, Inglot has been making inroads in Macy’s Impulse Beauty chain. It is now in six stores, including New York’s Herald Square, and is in discussions to open three more in the spring. The other five stores are in San Francisco’s Union Square, in the Fashion Show in Las Vegas, in Southern California’s South Coast Plaza, in Fashion Valley in San Diego and in Water Tower Place in Chicago.
Muriel Gonzalez, executive vice president and general merchandise manager of cosmetics, fragrances, shoes and accessories at Macy’s, indicated that the brand has lived up to expectations and the store has expansion in mind. “We are going to roll it out at a very measured pace where we have the right space and the right infrastructure.” She praised the brand for making color products accessible. “It makes a color statement in an important way,” she added, noting that the brand provides a great amount of information about color and has become a beacon in the Impulse stores. Neither Macy’s nor Inglot broke out any sales projections, but industry sources estimate that one of the Inglot shops in Impulse Beauty might have a reasonable sales target of about $800,000 at retail for a full year.
In the Herald Square unit of Impulse Beauty, the Inglot area measures 120 square feet and contains 1,600 stockkeeping units in a broad rainbow of rich color. The color products are marketed and merchandised with a Freedom System. Consumers can pick individual pans of color that can be then snapped into a magnetized metal case. The lid is designed to slide on and off for easy use by makeup artists, who are at the heart of Inglot’s core target. An eye shadow duo is priced $16 and a heavy-duty jumbo version, holding 40 colors of eye shadow, retails for $235. The shelving units feature chips of the products’ actual colors positioned under the product. “So you can see the real shades,” said company chief Wojtek Inglot.
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The nail polish has a formula that allows the wearer’s nails to breathe. The formula is similar to that used by breathable contact lenses, according to Inglot, who pointed out that nails need to breathe also.
Another health factor figures in the merchandising of the brushes. They are sterilized and sealed in plastic “so you know that people have not played with them,” Gonzalez said. The eye shadow pans are also sterilized and sealed. Inglot said he plans to do the same for the entire brand to avoid any contamination.
The color range includes heavily pigment lipsticks and glosses and a line of primers with different SPF ratings. “You need protection for the entire face,” Inglot noted. Inglot plans on broadening the Freedom System and is repackaging the eyelashes.
Wojtek Inglot, the brand’s owner, has created a global network of 300 freestanding stores which are mostly franchised. Stores have recently been opened in Buenos Aries, a second store has opened in Malaysia and the eighth in India, in Mumbai. Before Macy’s, Inglot began dabbling with Inglot shops inside other department stores in South Africa, Holland, Mexico and Italy, where the brands operate inside the Coin chain. But Inglot made it clear he considers the Macy’s relationship very important. “It gives you a good consumer awareness, especially being in a market where we have not been penetrating long,” Inglot said. “We can grow much more quickly with the infrastructure of Macy’s.”
The nuts and bolts mean a lot to Inglot. He said the only difficulty in working with Macy’s is in synchronizing the systems of the two companies, particularly when the partner is so big. “We started operating with the biggest department store on the planet,” he said, adding that there are also comforts. “We were surprised how nice people are,” Inglot added.
But he is not only experimenting with department stores. He is also experimenting with merchandising his brand within perfumeries. Inglot is testing in three or four Douglas stores in Poland.
Inglot employes about 200 makeup artists around the world and maintains training centers in Warsaw, London and Sydney, in addition to the New York studio.
The company manufactures about 95 percent of what it sells, with the exception of pencils, which it buys from suppliers. By running its own factory in southeastern Poland, the company is able to reduce cost by about 30 percent, Inglot estimates, and has a freer hand in coping with the unpredictability of the color cosmetics business. Inglot noted that he has freedom to limit a production run to only 500 pieces of a slow-selling color on one machine while turning out 20,000 units of a more popular shade on another. In terms of the size of the company, Inglot estimates that he could open another 100 stores at a minimum, bringing the total to at least 400 doors. The optimum size store ranges from 700 to 1,000 square feet, with some units measuring less than 500 square feet.