MAKING SCENTS OF THE STILA GIRL
Byline: Julie Naughton
NEW YORK — Call it the mix-and-match theory of launching a fragrance.
Stila founder Jeanine Lobell doesn’t believe in doing things the conventional way. So instead of launching just one scent, her brand’s first full entry into fragrance this fall, the Bouquet du Jour collection, will feature two juices to give consumers a choice — plus ancillaries that each emphasize a different note in each fragrance.
“Everyone’s got a fragrance. We wanted and needed to be different,” said Lobell, sniffing Creme Bouquet, one of the two juices, which is a mix of vanilla, pink lilac and lily of the valley. The second is Jade Blossom, a mix of green tea, cucumber and lemon verbena. The wish to be different was shared, across the board, by Lobell’s team. “As a brand, our concern was how to make an extension into a new category unique,” said Phebe Farrow Port, vice president and general manager of Stila. “Jeanine’s whole point was that she didn’t want to be a makeup artist brand that came out with a juice. She wanted the concept to be as unique as the makeup vending machines that bowed in her store last year. She also wanted her fragrance to be feminine and pretty, but versatile — for the consumer to be able to start out the day smelling one way, and end it smelling another.”
During the year Lobell spent finalizing the collection, she consulted with Robin Coe-Hutshing, owner of L.A. beauty boutique Fred Segal Essentials, which was one of Stila’s first doors. “Robin has a great instinct for what works, whether it’s the juice or the lineup,” said Lobell. Lobell also relied on a number of other team members, including Ken Lynch, executive director of product development, and Jill Tomandl, director of global packaging for Stila, to put the collection together, she said.
The end result: a fragrance system consisting of two juices, each with three individual lotions, that emphasize a different accord of the fragrance. Creme Bouquet’s lotions are vanilla, pink lilac and lily of the valley, while Jade Blossom’s are green tea, lemon verbena and cucumber. Each of the six lotions retails for $30 for a 6.7-oz. bottle, while the juices themselves retail for $50 for a 1.7-oz. bottle. There are also fragranced body shimmer powders for both Creme Bouquet and Jade Blossom, each retailing for $28 for a 2-oz. box. The juice is by Aroma Creations, the Seattle, Wash.-based fragrance house that also did Stila’s Flaunt fragranced body shimmer powders.
But even in the midst of launching the fragrances, Lobell, a makeup artist to the core, hasn’t forgotten her brand’s roots — color. To coordinate with the tones of the fragrance’s flower notes and packaging, Lobell has created a limited-edition cosmetics collection — two Lip Glaze shades and two new eye shadow/cheek Color Trios, one Lip Glaze and one trio for each fragrance grouping. Each Lip Glaze will retail for $24, while the Color Trios are $28 each.
All of the packaging follows the feminine vibe of the collection, down to the pink-tinted glass of the fragrance bottles. The body powders and makeup are in dark pink cardboard packaging, while the juices and lotions are in block-shaped bottles — glass for the juices, plastic for the lotions. All are adorned with dried flower images.
The collection launches in Sephora in August. Aside from three other California doors — Fred Segal Essentials and the two Stila stores — it will be an exclusive to the chain through February 2003, when it will be rolled out to additional retailers, including Bloomingdale’s and Belk’s. By the end of spring 2003, it is slated to be in about 235 doors.
“It made sense to start with Sephora,” said Claudia Poccia, vice president of sales, education and global artistry for Stila. “They are not only our number-one volume partner — and we’re theirs — they are a great partner to the Stila brand. There is a great synergy between Sephora’s positioning and Stila’s positioning — we share a strong core customer. As well, they are giving this launch an unprecedented level of support.”
In some under-penetrated markets, distribution next spring will be accented by additional doors that will have an exclusive in that area, said Port. For instance, she said, when the brand enters Boston, Filene’s will be the brand’s exclusive partner in that market, while in Houston, another underutilized market, Foley’s will have an exclusive.
While none of the executives would talk numbers, industry sources estimated that the fragrance would do about $4 million at retail in its first year, including the six-month exclusive in Sephora and the remaining six months in full distribution. Advertising and promotional spending is expected to top $1 million.
National advertising will appear beginning in August magazines, including In Style, Vogue, Elle and Marie Claire. The initial promotional campaign will consist of about 200,000 samples, including scented pieces shaped like the fragrance bottles; the scented strip is pulled from the top of the cardboard bottle. According to Jane Lauder, vice president of marketing, additional sampling vehicles will be introduced during the full rollout. “Our objective is to come up with unique sampling opportunities,” said Lauder. “You won’t be seeing anything typical from us in the sampling arena or anywhere else.”