Byline: Melissa Bedolis

NEW YORK — Sebastian International, the professional hair care giant, is venturing into the populous retail cosmetics territory.
The Woodland Hills, Calif.-based company and manufacturer of the Trucco cosmetics line is set to open its first Trucco Atelier store at the Glendale Galleria in Glendale, Calif., on Nov. 18.
At the heart of the strategy is Sebastian’s desire to expand Trucco from a cult line known primarily to beauty editors and trend-conscious consumers to a major player in the industry.
Up to now, the 18-year-old Trucco line, named after the Italian word for makeup, has been available exclusively in beauty salons and is best known for unusual, fashion-forward shades. For example, a blackened red lipstick, called Blood, is a bestseller.
“At this particular time, it’s important for us to take something that’s very successful within our business but lacks the direct contact with the consumer and move it up to that venue,” said John Sebastian, the firm’s founder and president.
According to Sebastian, the Glendale store is expected to do $950,000 in sales during its first 12 months. He said that Trucco currently represents about 12 percent of the company’s overall business.
Although he declined to disclose Sebastian’s overall sales, industry sources estimate that total revenues for the firm, which is a division of the Wella Corp., were about $90 million in 1995.
Sebastian plans to open additional Ateliers, with as many as four company-owned stores planned during 1997. There will be at least one in a yet-to-be confirmed New York or New Jersey location, one in Toronto and one in The Netherlands.
For future stores, Sebastian may offer ownership opportunities — possibly through licensing or franchising — to select distributors and salon owners.
As part of the move to attract a more mainstream customer, Sebastian will expand the number of Trucco’s 200 stockkeeping-unit line by about 25 percent, with particular emphasis in color cosmetics — lipsticks, eye shadows and the like. Product prices range from $7.50 for a lipstick to $25 for a foundation.
In addition to Trucco, the Atelier will carry the company’s 14-stockkeeping unit Skin Basix line, priced from $7.50 to $40, as well as the newly launched seven-stockkeeping unit skin treatment line based on green tea, which retails from $25 to $48.50.
Customers will also be offered makeup applications for $40, 90-minute private makeup lessons for $80 and eyebrow services for $12 to $15.
Sebastian sees the target customer as “somebody who is a little bit adventurous, somebody who is curious, who wants to learn.”
The idea, he said, is to offer choices to customers who are a little bit fashion-forward but aren’t interested in being dictated to.
Created by the Woodland Hills-based design firm ArTecnica, the 550-square-foot Atelier is a sleek combination of glass, metal, wood and fiberglass with products arranged on open counters designed to encourage hands-on experimentation.
Lip colors, eye shadows, foundations, pressed powders, loose powders and blushes will be displayed on a serpentine table and makeup stations are situated in the center of the store.
To promote the Glendale Atelier, the company will supplement Trucco’s national ad campaign, which runs only in Allure, and substantial trade campaigns with local adverting.
Product sampling, including miniature lipsticks and small jars that customers can fill with the colors of their choice, both at the store and in nearby salons, is also planned. Sebastian will also implement gift-with-purchase and purchase-with-purchase promotions, among other promotional programs.
In addition, makeup artists will be offered a 30 percent courtesy discount; if they become members of the Trucco Arist Group, the discount is 50 percent and they will have a chance to work for the company during in-store events, classes and salon events.