RESOURCE OPTIONS BRINGS NICHE CHOICES TO STORES
Byline: Faye Brookman
NEW YORK — Mass market retailers have been proclaiming a need for more niche-oriented choices — and a fledgling company called Resource Options is seeking to answer that call with a line called BeautyFinds.
But unlike many small vendors scrambling for space on the cosmetics peg wall, Resource Options is taking a different tack.
The initial BeautyFinds products, a group of eye pencils called French Kohls, are being sold only on promotional displays. The eye items went on sale last spring, while a batch of French Kohls lip pencils is currently being shipped.
“We thought we’d maximize on the trend for pencils right now,” said Cecil Canale, managing director of the Edison, N.J., company.
Canale, who has racked up more than 18 years in the beauty business with stints at Almay, Coty and Revlon, teamed with Betsy Forsythe Schmalz, former corporate senior vice president of worldwide creative product development at Estee Lauder, to create BeautyFinds.
Canale and Schmalz feel they are bringing a prestige approach to the mass niche category. The pencils are packaged in an elegant silver wrapper that is meant to stand out from the other pencil pushers in the market, including Nat Robbins, Prestige and Lord & Berry.
In addition, the promotion will soon be coupled with an unusual product called Double Design. Double Design, shipping now to stores, is a compact containing a cream-to-powder formula suitable for cheeks and eyes. Also included is an eyeliner in the same shade.
The next step, according to Canale, will be to add two products: French Kiss lip liner and Super Finish Lip Sheers, both of which are designed to allow women to change the look of their lipstick. Both will be in stores at the end of March. Sharpeners for the pencils will be added in the fall as part of a second-half promotion.
“We want to show that we’re more than a pencil line and address other trends in the market,” said Canale.
She said BeautyFinds is positioned to appeal especially to women trading up from the budget arena, or down from department store items.
In line with its spot between budget and other mass lines such as Revlon and Max Factor, all prices will be under $6. The Kohl eye pencils, for example, retail at many chains for $2.99, while Double Design will be around $4.50.
The products are mounted in displays meant to be placed on counters, with a curved header card and a black and white photograph of a model sporting the BeautyFinds look.
Educational brochures, called Beauty Flash, are available on the display to give shoppers makeup tips.
Since its first efforts last April, the company has secured distribution for its new brand in Wal-Mart, Duane Reade, Ulta3 and Fred Meyer. Some of the retailers are providing extra support; to launch Double Design, Duane Reade will hold quick in-store makeovers, with BeautyFinds’ makeup artists applying the cosmetics.
“We’re in about 1,350 doors now and hope to have 3,000 by the end of 1997,” said Canale.
She also said BeautyFinds is positioned as an impulse-purchase brand, and that many of the products will be shipped for a limited run of 60-to-90-day cycles. Bestsellers, however, will be available for reorder on an ongoing basis.
While she didn’t provide specific figures, industry sources estimate the brand could have a wholesale volume of between $3 million and $5 million this year.
Despite its small size, Resource Options has its own research and development, quality-assurance and electronic data interchange capabilities, Canale said.
She added that she wants Resource Options to be a source for private-label lines for mass marketers.
“We’ve seen so many people looking for private label and we have the resources to do it with a quality product,” she noted.
Buoyed by the strong performance of its Naturistics and Sally Hansen brands, Del Laboratories Inc., Farmingdale, N.Y., racked up a 40 percent increase in earnings in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31.
Earnings in the quarter were $2.1 million, up from $1.5 million for the comparable period in 1995. Earnings for all of 1996 were $9.3 million, an increase of 32 percent from the $7 million earned in 1995.
Sales in the quarter were up 9 percent to $58.4 million, versus $53.5 million for the fourth quarter of 1995. For the year, sales totaled $233 million, a rise of 9.9 percent above the $212 million reported for 1995.