BENDEL’S BEAUTY BONANZA

NEW YORK — Henri Bendel is getting ready to push beauty in a big way.
For the first time, it has created an exclusive beauty catalog that will be sent to 50,000 customers in the tri-state area. The 11×14 inch catalog will be mailed next week in an oversized brown and white striped envelope — reflecting Bendel’s highly recognizable shopping bags.
The catalog features striking product shots offset by whimsical drawings by Isak, a French illustrator. Some 43 different cosmetic, skin care, nail color, fragrance and body lines are represented.
“It’s not a mail order piece, it’s definitely a traffic driver,” said Ed Burstell, president of Henri Bendel. However, one can order from it. “A lot of other things out there are way too serious, and are just a line list. Ultimately that’s a disservice. There’s no emotional connection. We tried to get that [an emotional connection] across.”
Burstell noted that beauty is a significant contributor to Bendel’s business, representing 25 percent of total sales.
“It’s been a large piece of our business for many years, since we launched MAC in 1989,” Burstell added. “We’ve gone through the whole cycle of creating new beauty awareness, by launching such lines as Bobbi Brown, Trish McEvoy and Laura Mercier.” Other beauty products that got their start at Bendel’s are Awake, Trish McEvoy, BeneFit, Mario Badescu and SmashBox.
Burstell pointed out that the beauty business has taken a new turn of late. “It’s exciting in a different way. It’s a combination of new products, skin care and stuff for your body. At the same time, it’s playful and whimsical. There’s a definite wellness or Zen undercurrent.”
Teril Turner, director of marketing, said, “I wanted to do a piece that was oversized to recognize beauty. So often the tendency is to go with small and precious. I thought it would be great to show products larger than life.”
While she wouldn’t disclose the cost of producing the catalog, Turner noted it was “a hefty chunk of our fall budget.” and called the catalog a test.”I’m very optimistic it’ll become a seasonal mailing for us.”