Byline: Faye Brookman

NEW YORK — Despite oodles of competition, Caboodles cosmetics is gaining distribution.
And, while many teenage-oriented brands are merely being purchased on promotion, Caboodles is being granted highly coveted space on the peg wall.
Gary Schofield, president of Caboodles Cosmetics, said that by the end of the year, Caboodles would be in 5,800 doors with permanent locations of at least two feet. Industry sources estimate retail sales will surpass $50 million. That’s all for a brand that was launched only 18 months ago.
Among the chains using Caboodles as an anchor of youth-oriented departments are Target, ShopKo, Eckerd, Brooks, Shoppers Drug Mart, Meijers and Fred Meyer. Several other chains, such as Walgreens and CVS, are experimenting with Caboodles, and has Caboodles cosmetics available on its Web site. “We’re testing the waters with,” Schofield said.
Some chains are merchandising Caboodles cosmetics with related Caboodles merchandise, such as cosmetics boxes and bags. Caboodles cosmetics is a division of Plano Molding Co., which launched Caboodles boxes several years ago. ShopKo, for example, has a Caboodles boutique that ShopKo officials confirm has been “sensational.”
Schofield attributes the rapid acceptance of the products to Caboodles’ unusual products and packaging. “Many lines are clever, but skew young. That makes them promotional. That’s like poker — you don’t always know what you’ll get as far as returns. We want to be innovative, but in a sophisticated manner,” explained Schofield. “Most of the other companies are going after the tweens,” he said of firms such as Townley or Minnetonka’s new Looney Tunes cosmetics. “The other difference is that we’re building this into a brand.”
A buyer, who asked not to be named, who recently viewed Caboodles at the EPPS show, said she was still in the market for lines for teenagers, despite the plethora of choices. She said Caboodles would be among her youth offerings. “Jane is OK, but we like the freshness of Caboodles,” she said. “And, there’s instant name recognition from the cosmetics organizers.”
There are several products available in the mass market carrying the Caboodles logo, including the original organizers and soft bags, a new bath line, hair accessories and appliances.
Schofield cites a handful of new items as examples of Caboodles’ strategy of being different without talking down to its core consumer. For holiday 2000, the company is packaging lip gloss in a clear, bell-shaped container that can be used as an ornament. There is also Merry Fruitopian, seasonal shapes floating in flavored lip gloss. All items will be stocking-stuffer priced at less than $4.
Another new treat shipping now is Lip Sundaes, available in two layers of flavors such as strawberry and vanilla or chocolate and mocha.
A new test tube container is used for All that Glitter, a very fine body glitter gel.
These new items join Blownaway, a collection of fragrances in bottles with a wand to blow bubbles, and Lip Pops, flavored and scented glosses. New color palettes for spring and summer are what sales and marketing manager Karen Jamison called baby iridescent shades.
Caboodles fixtures are different from the pack. Three-dimensional Viewfinders are affixed to shelves where shoppers can look at images that capture the spirit of the brand. In August, postcards that shoppers can take and send to friends will be added to displays. Slipping a different color panel into the display can easily change the backdrop color of the department. A new Web site will bow in June that company officials said would “blow teens away.”
Rather than ask retailers for more space, Caboodles executives revamped the fixture to use spring-loading mechanisms to free space for new stockkeeping units. “We were able to add 24 sku’s in the same space,” said Schofield.
Despite its space-efficient fixture, Caboodles often secures its new space at the expense of other brands. Although Schofield would not comment on where he believed edits were being made, retailers who are taking on Caboodles said it was replacing footage once given to brands such as Fetish, Max Factor and Coty cosmetics.
Schofield admitted that the effort invested in the fixture could be wasted if the trend to universal fixtures continues. “In some cases, retailers’ fixturing can be very good; in others, it takes away. We’re working with retailers who are doing their own fixtures. It is because of this trend that we’re glad we also spent a great deal of time on our packaging.”
Caboodles is getting its name in front of young customers by sponsoring the Miss Teen USA 2000 pageant in August. The company also has an edgy print campaign. Schofield would not divulge the spending.
The success of the cosmetics brand has had a positive impact on the entire Caboodles franchise, said Leonie Mateer, a consultant to Caboodles parent Plano Molding. The cosmetics organizer business had hit a plateau, she said. However, Plano has revived the business with new styles conceived and tested by teenage focus groups.
The new crop of cosmetics organizers includes Asian influences such as elegant silks and bamboo, as well as high tech metals. “The boxes are anything but just plastic anymore,” Mateer said.

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