Big things can come from small packages.
This story first appeared in the May 13, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Fashion Fair Cosmetics’ partnership with Sony Pictures — a deal that made the prestige line for women of color the official beauty brand of the entertainment firm’s recent movie “Jumping the Broom” — is being well received at Macy’s and proves that social media marketing combined with a strong in-store presence can make a six-item, limited edition collection reap big rewards.
The collection, which includes a lip gloss, mascara and four eye shadows, entered 139 Macy’s doors on May 2. An e-mail blast to Fashion Fair’s customer list on May 6 — the premiere date of the movie, starring Angela Bassett and Paula Patton — resulted in an 111 percent increase in the brand’s Web site traffic and 6,400 new visitors to fashionfair.com over three days beginning with the e-blast. Web site sales increased 53 percent versus the prior week. A partnership with beauty bloggers and in-store makeovers at Macy’s on Mother’s Day helped drive consumption up 13.5 percent versus the previous week. The brand also gained 131 Facebook fans, according to Fashion Fair.
“The collection is a great way to speak to a younger audience.…To see it worn on such influential stars as Angela Bassett is a testament to the brand’s appeal and commitment to its renewed creative energy,” said Muriel Gonzalez, Macy’s executive vice president, general merchandise manager, cosmetics, fragrances and shoes. A bestseller, she said, has been the Seashell Pink eye shadow, which sells for $14. The lip gloss sells for $17 and the mascara is $16.50.
The almost 40-year-old cosmetics brand is on a mission this year to keep up its profile and reinvigorate its image overall.
According to Rodrigo Sierra, chief marketing officer, senior vice president of parent company Johnson Publishing Co., the brand is “taking a step back and bringing in new leadership with a new vice president of marketing” who has yet to be named, and new vice president of sales Ethan Foster, and vice president of operations, Robert Scott. “We now want to reposition it to a younger customer with style and substance so it can move forward. That’s why we got the partnership with Sony for ‘Jumping the Broom.’ ” In 2008, the brand received a makeover with new packaging and line extensions.
Fashion Fair has been a part of Macy’s cosmetics mix for 30 years and is carried in 200 of its doors, as well as online. The brand was born in 1973 and that year entered Marshall Field’s on Chicago’s State Street, now Macy’s. In stores, Fashion Fair is supported with beauty advisers, as well as with seasonal beauty promotions and various customized programs that showcase the line and its products, said Gonzalez.
Industry sources estimate Fashion Fair generates between $40 million and $50 million in annual sales and is sold in 640 outlets globally, including Macy’s, Dillard’s, Belk and Bon-Ton Stores, as well as in stores in Europe, Canada and the Caribbean.
Fashion Fair is owned by Johnson Publishing Co., which also owns Jet and Ebony magazines and is led by Desiree Rogers, former White House social secretary. The brand was born as an extension of a traveling runway show, called Ebony Fashion Fair, which showcased couture designs collected by Eunice Johnson, wife and business partner of John Johnson, who founded Johnson Publishing in 1942. The models in the show, many of whom were women of color, reportedly struggled to find makeup designed to meet their skin tone needs, so Johnson created the cosmetics line.