LOLA: VICTORIA JACKSON’S OTHER SIDE

Byline: Rose Apodaca Jones

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — Evidently, $400 million can’t buy respect.
That’s what Victoria Jackson faced with the beauty industry, its artists and editors, who endlessly slighted her namesake empire — because of those much-maligned, but incredibly lucrative infomercials.
Enter Lola. Jackson’s alter ego rolled out last month in a fully realized line and French-flavored boutique on Robertson Boulevard, a coveted stretch of hip and designer retail here.
The 1,200-square-foot space contains a chandelier-lit selling area and eyebrow tweezing and shampoo rooms, as well as the back VIP lounge — readily appointed for celebs and their stylists with a TV, coffee maker, microwave, vanities and sofa.
But it’s the 196 stockkeeping units of brushes, color cosmetics and skin care products that Jackson is banking on to achieve the same kind of success at retail that she made on TV.
“Even though I was working really hard to make great products, I never felt like the cosmetics industry really recognized me as a viable cosmetics line because of the infomercials,” she said. “Lola will hopefully allow me to prove it wasn’t just a fluke.”
She “went all out” with the formulations, packaging and presentation, intent on distinguishing Lola from her more mass-market-appealing line bearing her name, which now sells mostly via catalog.
A curvy heart logo appears on the metallic red compacts and opaque black plastic bottles. The scheme, both sweet and edgy, will likely appeal to the 16-to-35-year-old target she’s after.
The name is also an acronym that serves as slogan and maxim: “Lust Often, Love Always.”
Better formulations mean higher price points. Retail tags start at $16 for lip liner and $18 for eye shadow and go to $30 for loose powder and $35 for the sun protection moisturizer.
“I always saw myself in retail. I took this U-turn when I decided to sell products on TV, and it’s been an amazing trip. I was one of the first to do it, and it took off. Now, I can get back on the road I was originally traveling.”
That road, Jackson hopes, will lead to wide distribution in better department and specialty stores. Henri Bendel in New York already is lined up for February. Consumers also can order online at lolacosmetics.com, or by calling 866-BUY-LOLA. Lola is represented by Marc Rosen in New York.
First-year sales are conservatively estimated at $1 million to $2 million.
Of course, that contrasts with the $1 million a week in sales the Jackson infomercial reaps when it runs. “I never really appreciated those numbers,” she mused.
The precarious economy doesn’t have Jackson too concerned. “Lipstick is a quick feel-good when times are tough.”
A fragrance is in the works, although Jackson couldn’t pinpoint when it would be ready.

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