THE NEW FOCUS AT PHILOSOPHY
Byline: Kerry Diamond
NEW YORK — Philosophy is entering a new era. With the sale of Philosophy’s sister brand, BioMedic, to L’Oreal in May, co-founder Cristina Carlino can now focus exclusively on one line. “The sky’s the limit for Philosophy,” she explained during a recent phone interview. “The brand gets 100 percent now instead of 50 percent. It will make a huge difference.”
Few outside the industry knew that Philosophy and BioMedic were connected. “But if you walked in our building, you felt no separation,” Carlino said of the Phoenix headquarters. “I felt overwhelmed to be handling both. I felt both companies would suffer for it and both did.”
According to industry sources, the two brands generated a total of $30 million in sales volume last year. Philosophy’s sales jumped 17 percent.
L’Oreal bought the BioMedic line, but not the brand’s research facility, which handled research, development and manufacturing for BioMedic and Philosophy. (The lab will now operate under the name Biotech.)
Carlino said she never considered parting with Philosophy, which hit its fifth anniversary this year. “I wasn’t interested,” she stated. “Philosophy needs 100 percent of our team’s time and focus before any conversation can happen.”
Despite the talk about focus, things haven’t been standing still at Philosophy. Strengthening the distribution has been a priority and the brand has expanded onto QVC and into Sephora. “We’re doing phenomenally well on QVC,” Carlino reported. “It’s because the line’s message is universal. It’s a line that can reach out to a person who hasn’t bought a lipstick in 10 years.” As for Sephora: “We’re pleased and they’re pleased. We made our numbers for the year and we made them a month ago. We’ll be launching color with them shortly.”
The brand’s first freestanding boutique opened last year. The shop is located in Tempe, Ariz., near Philosophy’s hometown of Phoenix, and lucky visitors might even bump into Carlino’s mom, Patricia, who works in the store. The company plans to open additional stores and is in discussions with an organization that would handle the retail outlets. “The nice thing about having a clean table is that we can look at wonderful opportunities like this,” Carlino said.
As for new products, Guru, a citrus-scented salt scrub that heats up when massaged onto the body, is in the process of launching. A 20-oz. tub will retail for $25. For Christmas, it will be offered as a gift set with a journal and a Guru shower gel. Philosophy also will launch three new editions to the Little Black Book series of palettes: Superbasics, Superplatinum and Supergold. Each will retail for $37.50 and will hit stores in August.