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NEW YORK — When Jordana Cosmetics introduced Milani in 2002, buyers and competitors questioned its multicultural positioning. Was it for African-American women? Latinas? Or was Milani’s bold palette targeted at fashion-forward shoppers?

Milani’s success has answered those questions with a positioning that cuts across all shoppers. In today’s marketplace, the collection hits on all the right cylinders, and with pricing under $5 for most stock-keeping units, it appeals to consumers looking for value. The color range is in tune with multicultural women who can’t always find shades right for them in traditional brands.

With African-American, Asian and Hispanic consumers accounting for more than one-third of the U.S. population, cosmetics aimed at this market are expected to expand, according to Mintel Research. Mintel also reports that consumers are looking to save time and make economical choices, which is causing them to trade down from prestige products, but still make an impact with their beauty look.

Sales growth tells the story of how customers have been the ones to figure out how Milani plays in the market. Sales gains are impressive with many of the Milani product categories, posting double-digit growth across food, drug and mass doors, according to ACNielsen data. In total, sales exceed $50 million, a rise of 2.3 percent versus last year. ACNielsen data also show Milani is the number-one multicultural brand in mass and it is the number-five-selling brand in dollars by point of distribution.

For retailers, Milani has provided an avenue to offer cosmetics to women of color in the traditional planogram instead of carving out an area for just ethnic products — that has added to the productivity and value of the line, said retailers.

“Shoppers like the value and the high quality Milani provides,” said Robert Wallner, senior vice president of sales for Milani. He added that growing number of African-American, Asian and Hispanic consumers create a need for cosmetics to server many palettes. Mintel estimates the spending power of this group will surpass $4.2 billion by 2013 and the research firm said non-Caucasian women continue to spend more on beauty products.

Adding to that is the fact Milani’s hues are in tune with the bold statements emerging for spring, said a buyer. At last month’s ECRM meeting, Milani unleashed a barrage of 12 new products featuring 47 new stockkeepingunits. Among the new items are Haute Flash, a new shimmer lip gloss; Shadow Eyez 12-hour eye shadow pencils; Eye Tech Extreme; Total Lash Cover Mascara with a Three Zone Brush, as well as an illuminating face powder, a new fast-dry, one-coat formula nail product.

Milani distribution includes Wal-Mart, Kmart, Meijer, Walgreens, CVS, Navarro, Kroger, HEB, Winn-Dixie and Ahold.

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