SISTER ACT PLAYS ROLE IN BEAUTY

Byline: Laura Klepacki

NEW YORK — Those Olsen twins are at it again — and so is Wal-Mart.
This time the fifteen-year-old actresses are putting their imprint on beauty, with the introduction this week of a color cosmetics collection. In April, they will add hair care items followed in May with hair appliances such as a straightener and a braiding tool.
The advent of Mary-Kate and Ashley cosmetics, priced from $1.94 to $3.94, comes as Wal-Mart discontinues its private label No Boundaries line, which had carried similar price points. Wal-Mart did not comment on why No Boundaries, a youth brand, was being pulled.
In a statement, Ronnie Hoyt, Wal-Mart’s general merchandise manager, health and beauty care, said: “Our success with the Mary-Kate and Ashley brand fashions and entertainment products at Wal-Mart has encouraged us to expand the brand’s offerings into cosmetics, hair care and hair appliances.” Mary-Kate and Ashley fashions, domestics and accessories were introduced at Wal-Mart last year. There is also a magazine bearing their name.
In all, Mary-Kate and Ashley beauty contains 165 items across 19 categories. The slogan, “Real Beauty For Real Girls,” is already being flashed on the Mary-Kate and Ashley Web site and will also appear on in-store displays.
Little if any advertising is planned. Rather, said Robert Thorne, chief executive of Dualstar, the Mary-Kate and Ashley licensing company, the girls will be making media appearances. “The philosophy of Mary-Kate and Ashley and the brand is to not to try to beat them [consumers] over the head, but let them find it for themselves. We don’t try to spend millions of dollars on advertising to manipulate demand. That is one of the unique qualities of the brand.”
And, “Yes, yes, yes,” insisted Thorne, Mary-Kate and Ashley are involved in the development of the products. “Every single [stockkeeping unit] is seen by them and it is ‘yay’ or ‘nay.”‘ Nu-World Cosmetics of Carteret, N.J., partnered on the cosmetics line and Conair Corp. of Stamford, Conn., supplies the hair items.
Cosmetics packaging is silver finish with black and silver lettering. Shampoo, conditioner and styling bottles are clear with white caps, while product is tinted in cheerful shades. The hydrating shampoo is sky blue and the replenishing conditioner is yellow.
Mary-Kate and Ashley items will be merchandised near like categories in Wal-Mart’s beauty department and also in the Mary-Kate and Ashley Fashion and Entertainment stores, now featured in five Wal-Mart Supercenters.
Thorne declined to comment on sales projections. But sources estimate Mary-Kate and Ashley beauty could reach retail sales of $5 million to $10 million the first year.

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