Byline: Faye Brookman

NEW YORK — In just a year and a half, Fetish has grown from a line of artificial nails to a full-fledged beauty brand.
First there was Nail Fetish, artificial nails that launched in April 1996, targeted to young women. A year later, Fetish nail polish hit the shelves, followed this summer by the Fetish fragrance.
In January, the brand, a division of Renaissance Cosmetics, will introduce an 81-stockkeeping-unit makeup line, and next spring Fetish bath products will bow.
The new makeup collection is aimed at teenagers. This is a slightly older target audience than that of rival lines such as Bonne Bell, Sweet Georgia Brown, Loud Music and Estee Lauder’s newly acquired Jane brand, according to Anne Leets, general manager for Cosmar, a division of Renaissance Cosmetics.
Leets declined to talk numbers, but industry sources estimate the line will generate first-year retail sales of at least $10 million.
The lineup includes lip gloss, lip color, lip accent (a 2-in-1 lip color and highlighter in a compact), mascara, body glitter, eye shadow, blusher and nail polish, each $3.95. There also will be quarterly one-shot products, including hair mascara and temporary stamps that look like tattoos. The products sport whimsical names such as Fat Boy Mascara and Let it Slide lip gloss.
The line is packaged in clear or silver plastic containers that are shrink-wrapped to purple cards. Most lines for teenagers have black packaging.
Cosmar says it developed the line with the input of teenagers. The company gathered information about what its consumers want during conversations via its 800 number.
Leets said the feedback revealed teenagers want more sophisticated mass market color options.
“They are looking for products inspired by MAC, Hard Candy or Urban Decay,” she said. “They want products they are proud to pull out of their purse.”
This is in line with data from Cosmar showing that 34 percent of teenagers purchase cosmetics from department stores or other sources because they are dissatisfied with mass brands.
Leets said she believes discounters and drugstores also have been losing business to clothing stores that have introduced beauty lines.
“This [line] is a chance for discounters and drugstore retailers to get that business back,” Leets said.
The company is offering retailers a menu of merchandising options ranging from displays suitable for end-of-aisle fixtures to a total Fetish boutique for nail products, fragrance and makeup.
Leets said a full cosmetics presentation requires at least one linear foot of space.
Fetish will be supported with brand advertising showing at least two of its product categories. The products will be cross-promoted on-pack with coupons and samples. In addition, there’s a new Fetish Web site.
Leets said she feels Fetish has a competitive advantage in the race for the estimated $4.1 billion America’s 15 million teenage girls spend annually on cosmetics and skin care because of its track record with Nail Fetish. That brand currently has about 4 percent share of the $160 million artificial nail care category, according to Information Resources Inc.
Although it is too early to judge the success of the Fetish fragrance, retailers report promising initial sales results.
The Fetish cosmetics rollout comes on the heels of the Jane buyout. Industry observers believe that with Lauder’s muscle behind it, Jane’s distribution will grow significantly.
Undaunted by the heightened competition, Leets said she thinks the acquisition actually gives the teenage market a shot in the arm.
“That acquisition puts more focus on the importance of the teen market,” she added.
She noted several chains have been trying harder to attract teenage customers by making room on peg walls for more youth lines. “There’s only a finite amount of space. People have to stock what turns,” she said, adding that the success of youth-oriented lines has prompted retailers to look at their product lineups to find items they can discontinue to make room for lines like Fetish or Jane.
Retailers agreed they are reducing the footage of slower-moving lines to enlarge teenage departments.
Target, for example, has a large teenage presentation that includes Bonne Bell and Jane. Longs Drug Stores in Walnut Creek, Calif., has made a commitment to creating special teenage sections in the cosmetics area.
Several plan to put Fetish into the teenage assortment, especially because it has grown into a full line.
“We think Fetish works as a concept and the products look like they are in tune with what our young shoppers want,” said one discount store retailer.

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