PRESTIGE: MAKEUP ARTISTRY FOR THE MASSES

Byline: C. K.

NEW YORK — Prestige Cosmetics is out to take the makeup artist craze into the mass market.
While professional lines — such as Trish McEvoy, MAC and Bobbi Brown — have been the hottest color category in department stores of late, Prestige hopes the concept will work in a different outlet: drug chains.
“Prestige originated in salons and beauty supply stores in the mid-Eighties and has been used by makeup artists for years,” said Thomas Winarick, vice president of marketing for the Deerfield, Fla. company.
Over the last two years, he said, the company has focused on expanding distribution into chain drugstores and not on promoting its professional heritage.
But beginning early next year, through the company’s first print advertising campaign, revised in-store visuals, new products and other promotional vehicles, Prestige hopes to build a makeup-artist presence in the mass market.
Prestige executives said they were spurred into action because of the prominence of the department store makeup artist lines, which have now attracted the attention of major vendors. Both MAC and Bobbi Brown are now affiliated with EstAe Lauder, and nearly every department store supplier is marketing a line of professional-inspired brushes.
Prestige was also prompted by Procter & Gamble’s recent decision to return to Max Factor’s Hollywood makeup artist heritage in its advertising and promotional activities.
“The lines are hot and have built a strong following because professional makeup artists are the authorities on application techniques and color trends,” Winarick said. “It’s where Max Factor started and a reason P&G is returning to the heritage.”
Now that Prestige intends to build a professional positioning, the next step is to spread the word. In January, it will break is first print ad campaign in Allure. The ad will run for 12 months, Winarick said. To drive home the professional positioning, the tagline will read: “Prestige, The Power of Professional Makeup.”
At the same time, the company will start the Prestige Beauty Council, a club whose members will be culled from in-store applications and direct mail. Club members will be mailed a quarterly newsletter, called Face the Fax, that contains coupons, makeup application tips and Prestige product information.
Winarick noted that Prestige is hoping that the company’s first advertising effort, coupled with the promotional strategies, will boost sales by as much as 40 percent over the next two years.
He declined to divulge sales and advertising figures. But according to industry sources, a 40 percent gain would give Prestige a U.S. wholesale volume approaching $25 million. Sources estimate the company’s 1996 advertising and promotional budget will be $300,000 to $500,000.
Prestige is also out to expand its distribution. In addition to its 1,500 beauty supply store and salon doors, Prestige is sold in 8,000 mass doors, including Genovese Drugstores of Melville, N.Y., and Duane Reade of Long Island City, N.Y.
Winarick said he is shooting for an overall distribution of 12,000 doors by the end of 1996 and added that the line has been tested in a handful of Wal-Marts and 125 Eckerd stores for the last six months.
Meanwhile, many existing accounts are letting the company spread its wings. According to Winarick, throughout February and March, 1,200 to 2,000 of Prestige’s doors are extending the line’s shelf space from one to two linear feet.
As it expands its presence, Prestige will also augment its offerings. In March it will lauch three new lip products.
“Prestige has built its brand around eye and lip pencils, which along with lipsticks are the most impulse-driven items in the market,” Winarick said. “We have found that having a wide array of pencils and lip colors is one of the fastest ways to pull women over to our display.”
Winarick noted that Prestige was launched in the mid-Eighties with about 30 lip and eye pencils. While the company now offers a full-scale line of 292 stockkeeping units, pencils still comprise 40 percent of the collection.
The company’s major lip launch will be WearEver lasting lip color, which represents a foray into the hot long-lasting lip market. Each of the brand’s 16 shades will have a suggested retail price of $4.95.
Unlike other long-wearing lipsticks on the market, Prestige’s entry does not contain silicone. Company executives say that silicone, the ingredient which gives transfer-proof lipsticks staying power, also causes the uncomfortable dryness considered to be one of the prominent drawbacks to using the products.
Prestige’s basic lip lineup will also be augmented. The company is adding eight lip colors with sheer finishes and eight shimmery shades. There will also be four new lip pencils, bringing the firm’s total to 12.
Each of the new lip items will have a suggested retail price of $3.95.

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