A fashionable and affordable accessory has particular appeal during an economic downturn — and that’s what Sula Beauty founder Susanne Langmuir attempted to achieve with a new line of nail colors called Paint & Peel Polish.
This story first appeared in the May 29, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“The quest that I went on was to create a product that turns nails into an accessory, so that you can change them every day and remove the need for nail polish remover,” she said. “The experience of peeling is our biggest hook.”
With Paint & Peel Polish, Toronto-based niche perfumer Langmuir further expands beyond scents. She established her namesake fragrance house Susanne Lang Parfumerie five years ago before introducing Sula Beauty in 2007 for consumers 18 to 35. Sula Beauty spread from fragrance, still the brand’s strongest category, to lip balm and body care before nail polish.
Paint & Peel Polish, priced at $8 to $10 per bottle, contains 15 nail polish shades, with royal, sorbet, moss and azure among the early standouts, according to Langmuir. The polish, which she described as thicker than normal polish and with a wider brush, is water-based, virtually odorless and free of phthalates, toluene and formaldehyde.
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Langmuir said the polish should take only a few minutes to dry after application, but wear can be extended with Paint & Peel Polish top and base coats. Once dry, the polish is designed to be stripped off the nail in a clean sweep.
Langmuir anticipates six to 16 shades will be infused into the Paint & Peel line yearly. “We consciously made a choice not to have any ho-hum colors,” she said. “If it is a color you get anywhere else, then we don’t go there.”
Paint & Peel Polish is set to enter roughly 600 U.S. doors for spring, including Ulta, and Langmuir projected it would generate at least $4 million in first-year sales. She said sales of Sula Beauty in Ulta increased 70 percent last year, and roll-on perfumes, priced around $36 in Ulta for a collection of six, have helped the business since their release last November.
Up next for Sula Beauty could be natural or organic beauty products. “I typically don’t follow a structured roll-out plan,” said Langmuir. “If a product really appeals to me, and we have a substantial point of difference, then we will head in that direction.”