MILANI’S SECOND COMING
Byline: Faye Brookman
NEW YORK — With chains such as Kmart, Walgreens and CVS looking to do more to serve ethnic shoppers, buyers are eyeing cosmetics for women of color with a new focus.
That’s good news for Jordana Cosmetics, a Los Angeles beauty marketer that acquired the Milani name from Nina International last year.
Milani had originally been launched into the mass market as a brand for women of color two years ago with some success in chains including Pathmark and Drug Emporium.
Under Jordana, however, the entire line has been repackaged and spruced up. “The packaging blew buyers away at ECRM,” said Laurie Minc, Jordana president about the Efficient Consumer Response Management program held in February. That was many buyers’ first look at the elegant brushed copper components. One large chain drug buyer said she hoped to be able to implement Milani into her planogram within the next year. The official relaunch of the lip, nail, eye and facial cosmetics line is June of this year. Pricing is in the $1.99 to $4.99 range. Although the company would not comment, industry sources said Milani has the potential to reach retail sales in excess of $75 million.
Mass marketers have gotten in and out of ethnic cosmetics several times over the past 20 years. And, many manufacturers have flirted with lines created for black women such as Maybelline’s Shades of You and Revlon’s Polished Ambers. Both exited the business and decided to ensure colors within the conventional market lines addressed the needs of all women.
Currently, women of color can select from lines such as Posner, Black Radiance or Black Opal at mass market doors and products such as Fashion Fair at department stores. However, a great deal of sales to black, Hispanic or Asian women is via the beauty supply trade. It is estimated the total beauty spending, including hair care, by ethnic consumers exceeds $5 billion, but only $1.6 billion is being spent in drug, discount or food stores.
With Milani, Jordana hopes to provide an avenue for mass merchants to garner more of the business. The company is suggesting retailers implement at least a two-foot section. Minc hopes to have Milani in at least 5,000 doors by the end of 2002. And, she hopes the brand can be extended into skin care in the future to address specific needs of women of color. “What is important to note is that Milani is not just for African-American women, it is for women of color,” said Minc.
Although retailers have always tried to court the ethnic shopper, many didn’t have a handle on the percentage of black, Asian or Hispanic customers. Now, several retailers said, they have systems in place that allow them to micromarket and place products in each store to fit the clientele. And, the population numbers are too large to continue to ignore. Currently, 30 percent of the female population in the U.S. is considered to be women of color.
In discussing his plan for reviving Kmart, its chief executive officer Jim Adamson said the discount chain would look at the selection in each store and tailor it for the market. Kmart hopes to become more of a destination for ethnic consumers — a key ploy in differentiating itself from the competition. Walgreens, Rite Aid, CVS and other chain executives have also recently cited efforts to do a better job on a per-door basis of addressing ethnic shoppers.
Although Milani is getting attention, the company also produces a line of color cosmetics under the Jordana logo. Recently, Jordana has been stepping up promotions behind the color collection. “We sold completely out of our Kaleidoscope promotion and retailers really liked our Reflexxions pencils,” said Minc. Kaleidoscope was an eye shadow featuring a mosaic of colors while Reflexxions is a pencil providing a holographic look upon application.
Although Minc is happy to get into mass doors via promotion, the company also has a wall program sold in regional powerhouses such as Duane Reade and Longs. “Jordana has always been a good line for us,” said Marti Bentley, buyer for Duane Reade.
Founded 15 years ago, Jordana was primarily a supplier to the beauty trade and the brand is still sold in many beauty supply stores. However, the consolidation of mom-and-pop beauty stores lead Minc to look for new avenues of distribution including dollar stores and now the mass retail universe. Jordana also has a healthy international distribution in countries such as Russia, Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Minc estimated 40 percent of annual sales are produced outside of the U.S.