Twelve years ago, Toni Ko created NYX Cosmetics to give women looking for the latest cosmetics colors an affordable alternative to prestige brands and battled it out with larger mass beauty players to win shelf space for the Los Angeles-based indie upstart.
This story first appeared in the November 18, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
More than 10,000 doors later, Ko has stepped aside as chief executive officer to become chief creative director and has brought in Scott Friedman, formerly president of Conair Corp.-owned cosmetic bag maker Allegro, as ceo. Friedman is charged with converting NYX from a relatively small success story into a serious global contender. “As a company grows, the opportunities are so great that you want someone who has been through the transition of small- to medium-sized company before,” said Friedman.
Already, Friedman has been shoring up management, tapping Jeffrey Ten as vice president of business development and Brandyn Stugart as vice president of sales.
NYX has also launched a new ad campaign to raise its profile. The campaign, which broke last month in Style.com/Print (a division of Fairchild Fashion Media), is expected to be in more magazines and on billboards in the first quarter of next year. Tag lines include “Be free, be fierce,” “Be bold, be glamorous” and “Be you, be daring” to spotlight the many dimensions of NYX customers. “We’ve never done a campaign even remotely like this. It is 20 times as much [money] as we’ve done previously,” said Friedman, who divulged that NYX’s ad budget is in the seven figures.
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In 2009, Ulta was the first retailer with a national presence to pick up NYX, which had two feet of space in the retailer that year. It has steadily expanded and could reach 10 feet next year, according to Friedman. Other retailers have taken notice of NYX: Nordstrom is putting the brand into around 20 doors in its Brass Plum juniors area, and Bed, Bath & Beyond has plans to test NYX in some 15 stores with its in-store Harmon Face Values concept.
In 2013, Friedman predicts NYX will accomplish “a number of major rollouts.” With its price points largely under $15 and its emphasis on color, NYX is attractive to retailers because it draws young consumers — its sweet spot is shoppers aged 18 to 30 — and women of color with 16 percent of NYX customers Asian, 30 percent Hispanic and 14 percent African-American. “If the brand becomes well-known enough, you will start seeing it in a Walgreens or CVS at some point as well,” said Friedman, who also mentioned Shoppers Drug Mart, Duane Reade and Target as possibilities for NYX.
NYX, which has 2,000 stockkeeping units, sells to 40 countries worldwide and has tripled international sales in the last year. As a whole, it is on pace to increase sales 50 percent this year, after registering 50 percent growth last year and 30 percent the year before that. Industry sources estimate NYX will exceed $50 million in sales next year.