LOS ANGELES — London-born brands Pixi and Pop Beauty have grown up, settled down in Southern California and positioned themselves to bolster their presence nationally and internationally.
This story first appeared in the May 22, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Pixi by Petra Strand is the top performer of the three pro lines (the others are Napoleon Perdis’ NP Set and JK Jemma Kidd) for the mass market that hit some 1,525 Target stores last August, according to Pixi and Pop Beauty president and chief operating officer Andrew Knox. Nonetheless, the brand believes it can do better and is tweaking its 97 stockkeeping unit assortment, priced from $12 to $34, to buoy the results, particularly in its number-one complexion category, due to swell in August with the release of $24 Flawless Finishing Powder, $18 Flawless Vitamin Concealer and $28 Flawless Beauty Primer.
“They are continuing to pump money into [the pro lines].…They are in bed with this,” said Knox of Target, who joined Pixi and Pop Beauty from Too Faced late last year, shortly before they moved their headquarters to Culver City, Calif. “The great thing we are seeing with Target is that ‘Mom’ is shopping our brand.” To appeal to mothers, Target is featuring a woman with a child in ads for Pixi by Petra Strand coming out in August, explained Knox.
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Outside the U.S, Knox reported Pixi is set to launch in 60-plus Boots stores in the U.K. in January with a range comparable to what Target carries, although Boots may pick up nail polish not sold in Target. He said the brand is also in talks with distributors in several countries, including Canada, Japan and China, to open stores similar to five existing Pixi brand stores in the Middle East. Pixi has one company-owned store in London with around 300 sku’s and has plans to open another there next year.
Knox estimated Pixi would pull in $17 million in global retail sales this year, its 10th anniversary. He said Pop Beauty is on pace to generate $8 million in 2009 global retail sales, adding that the brand, which was inaugurated in Topshop in 2002 to cater to a younger demographic, is being considered for a March launch in Boots and is slated to enter Sephora China in February or March of next year.
Married couple Petra Strand, a longtime makeup artist, and Tony Oppe, chief executive officer of Pixi and Pop Beauty, own both brands. Singer Sara Strand, Petra’s sister and a makeup artist as well, serves as the creative director for Pop Beauty. Sara Strand relocated to Los Angeles four months ago to work on Pop Beauty and to be closer to Petra and Oppe, who have lived in Santa Barbara about three years.
Like 27-year-old Sara Strand, Pop Beauty has matured in the seven years since it started. The brand recently revamped its products, eliminating almost 60 percent of its assortment and delving heavily into the complexion category for spring with, for example, the $26 Face Magnet Primer, $24 No Show Concealer and $26 Double Duty Bronzer.
“The best-selling products are the primer and the concealer. For me, it just shows that people take the brand more seriously than just being about crazy colors,” said Sara Strand. “Obviously we are about bright colors and fun, but we also have a seriousness when it comes to texture and ingredients.”
Complexion isn’t the only category getting the Pop Beauty treatment. Knox said the brand is putting its stamp on false eyelashes with an eyelash bar endcap containing 15 lash styles priced $15 to $30, slated for a September rollout in CVS’ Beauty 360 stores. Sara Strand described the lash bar as having “everything from everyday lashes to wedding lashes, where it is more romantic, to full-on fantasy lashes.”
In total, Pop Beauty is now in 400 U.S. doors, including Beauty 360, Ulta and Beauty.com, and is expected to be in 700 next year. Among the products being introduced into Pop Beauty’s stable for fall will be a $36 Day to Play Clutch with 18 eye color shades and the $32 Smokey Eye Clutch with 12 liners and lid finishers.
“Pop Beauty is very much about femininity with an edge,” said Sara Strand. “There is so much potential to grow still. We have such a strong brand and such a strong concept behind the brand.”