Byline: Laura Klepacki

NEW YORK — With an eye towards attracting department store shoppers, Target has begun the rollout of its first proprietary cosmetics line.
Designed by celebrity makeup artist Sonia Kashuk, the signature collection will be in the chain’s 907 stores within the next two weeks, according to Gina Cervantes, cosmetics buyer at Target.
Target executives declined to discuss sales projections for its newest private label effort, except that it is expected to bring incremental business. Beauty currently accounts for about 5 percent of Target’s sales. As reported, the chain is looking to grow that to at least 8 percent. With reported annual sales of $23 billion, that puts Target’s current beauty volume, which includes cosmetics and beauty care, at about $1.1 billion.
“A big part of Target’s approach is differentiating ourselves,” said Cervantes. “It [the Sonia Kashuk collection] is a prestige product at our mass prices.” Speaking of other discount and drugstore private label programs, she said, “No one has done it before.” “We are hoping to get the customer who buys prestige in, and not just trade from one category to another,” said Cervantes. The line targets women aged 20 plus, she added.
According to both Cervantes and Kashuk, the line has been created with simplicity in mind.
“We hear from our consumers that cosmetics are overwhelming,” said Cervantes, referring to the sku-intensive assortment and lack of consultants in self-serve mass departments. “We recognized that gap.”
So the Sonia Kashuk collection is a tightly focused selection of six liquid foundations and six wet to dry foundations, 16 lipsticks, five powder blush shades, along with a range of lipglosses, eyeshadows, pressed powder, loose powder, eye and lip pencils, concealers, and brushes and accessories. A powder blush is $7.99, lipstick, $5.99, and liquid foundation, $9.99.
Known among makeup artists as the “queen of clean” for her style, Kashuk’s desire was to deliver a collection to produce an easily attained “polished look,” rather than an overly glamorous one.
The classic approach was applied to packaging as well. Boxes are periwinkle blue with white and dark blue lettering, compacts are metallic gray and silver, and lipstick tubes are silver. The liquid foundation bottles are clear with silver caps and equipped for ease of use with a pump dispenser. “I wanted something that would last,” said Kashuk. “I also wanted the packaging to be pretty — to make you want to touch it and feel it.”
In-store, the collection will be merchandised on three-foot end-of-aisle displays, said Cervantes. To find space, some products were rearranged, but nothing was eliminated. There are no testers for the line. “We wanted to make it simple for our stores as well — to keep the product clean and keep the fixture clean.”
Advertising, which begins this month, appears in select beauty magazines and the chain’s circular. Kashuk will also make store appearances to support the launch.
Kashuk, who with model Cindy Crawford authored the beauty book, “Basic Face,” approached Target with the concept of a partnership three years ago. Kashuk said she felt there was “something missing” in mass market cosmetics offerings. “I saw that there was an intimidation factor, and I also never understood paying $40 for a foundation,” she said. Kashuk wanted to remedy that by developing a prestige-quality line accessible to a larger audience.
She said her first meeting with Target executives “just clicked — there was that right energy.” Kashuk took her ideas to Target “because I think Target is the most amazing retailer, with a very modern approach in bringing the best products at the best values.”
Target also caught her attention because of its extensive charity programs. And in a celebration of the launch of Sonia Kashuk Professional Makeup, an auction of the works of several fashion photographers was held in New York Wednesday, which raised $15,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.