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Napoleon Perdis Banking on the U.S. for Growth

“The USA is the most sophisticated market in the world for appreciating tertiary creative energy,” he said.

DALLAS — For Napoleon Perdis, the U.S. is his oyster, and a glamorous one at that. “I expect the majority of growth to come from the USA,” said Perdis, who relocated from Australia to Los Angeles six years ago to develop the namesake cosmetics firm he owns and operates with his wife and brother.

“The USA is the most sophisticated market in the world for appreciating tertiary creative energy,” added Perdis during a break from launching his line at Neiman Marcus in NorthPark Center here. “It is all about customized, individual design that is edited by someone.”

Distinguished by his line’s broad color palette and six foundation textures including an aerosol spray, Perdis has just inked a distribution deal for eight Middle Eastern nations, but he said he plans on the U.S. market — which grew 16 percent this year to $130 million — to drive retail sales.

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“There is nothing like the American female to celebrate glamour,” Perdis enthused in typical rapid-fire delivery at his Dallas hotel. “She’s amazing; she’s global; she’s intellectual; she’s in control. Before anyone else on the planet, she was fighting for equal rights and work.”

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Perdis counts 4,500 total points of sale spanning Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and the U.S., where distribution covers 540 doors of Ulta, 17 Nordstrom and 108 Dillard’s. Of 75 company-owned concept stores worldwide, two are in the U.S. — in Hollywood and Canoga Park, Calif.

The company also operates branded Makeup Academy schools with six in Australia, one next to its Los Angeles store with another planned for Dallas’ Design District this summer.

Perdis said it took 18 months of persuading Hazel Wyatt, Neiman’s vice president of cosmetics, to land his collection at the NorthPark flagship plus doors in Houston, Denver and Beverly Hills, and on the Web site. “When I came she had five people — I kid you not — that I had to do a huge presentation to,” he recalled, adding that he launches March 6 at Bergdorf Goodman, and the line is already on Bergdorf’s Web site. “They really didn’t have anything like us on the floor because everything is so neutral, nothing like a total customizable makeup bar.”

Neiman’s and Bergdorf’s will have a few items exclusively, including the Swan Lake Collection eye palette that Perdis created for the Australian Ballet, six Mattetastic lipstick shades launching in April and Auto Pilot Concealer Primer due in May.

Perdis’ bestsellers are Auto Pilot primer, Sheer Genius liquid foundation, Camera Finish powder foundation and Mesmer-Eyes mascara. Looking ahead, Perdis is focused on expanding distribution, color and developing “much bigger ingredient decks” in foundations and primers to address “the need for freshness” in skin. “My DNA is not to be trendy,” noted Perdis, who was named for his Corsican grandfather. “I think women need to feel safe, classic and respected. It’s all about primers and foundations and making sure the base is going to look amazing because if the lingerie is right, you can put on any dress you want.”