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Note Cosmetics U.S. Under New Direction

Michael Hawley plans to leverage his knowledge of both retailer and brand roles to help Note Cosmetics expand in the U.S. market.

Note Cosmetics is ready to scale up. This month, Note named Michael Hawley as president of Note Cosmetics USA. He replaces Jeffrey Ten who departed the company last November.

Hawley brings more than 20 years of beauty industry experience from both the brand and retail perspective from roles at Bloomingdale’s and Saks Fifth Avenue, as well as Benefit Cosmetics and The Fragrance Group, to Note. He was also general merchandise manager of BeautyKind where he negotiated the onboarding of more than 100 brands across beauty categories.

“I’ve been on both sides of the business and can see from the corporate merchants’ perspective as well as leadership in stores actually touching the customer,” Hawley said. “If I have a secret weapon, it is I understand how the buyer’s mind works which is becoming increasingly important in our ever-changing landscape.”

Industry sources estimate Note, a multichannel marketer of color cosmetics, sales will exceed $5 million in the U.S. in 2018 with potential to double in the next few years.

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Hawley hopes to leverage his background to establish Note’s position in the competitive color cosmetics category. “There is room in [beauty] assortments for this brand which is well-positioned to fill some space not being covered as well as it should be,” he said. Specifically, he explained the brand is high-quality with shades for all skin tones but priced affordably. Prices for the 300 stockkeeping unit brand are mostly under $18. “I think people are surprised at the price based on the look of the product. I’m also proud we are cruelty free.”

The blueprint for growth includes first shoring up online sales where Hawley can use consumer feedback to hone the line. He also plans to fill in gaps in the range, such as new primers and color correctors slated for the fall. Influencer marketing will be moved to the front burner. “That has become one of the most important ways to grow your business. I feel identifying who the proper partners in that space is just as important as the proper partners in retail or other dot coms,” he said.

Note is sold Stateside primarily at Ricky’s and with the potential to expand to more partners. The brand launched in Istanbul in 2014 and made its way to U.S. less that two years ago with its first distribution in the professional market. Globally, the company is sold in 700 doors, with plans to test physical locations in the U.S. “The brand is still relatively new in the market,” Hawley said. “We are well positioned to create a new experience at this price point.  Luxury does not have to be expensive.”