BEAUTYSCENE’S SECOND COMING

Byline: Vicki M. Young

NEW YORK — Beautyscene.com is back in business.
According to a source inside the company, Beautyscene, which had been in negotiations with several potential buyers since January, was sold to a New York City-based investment company in late March. A staff member at the firm’s Fair Oaks, Calif., office said that, after Beautyscene had stopped taking orders last week, it resumed operations this Wednesday.
The cash-strapped firm had hired Keen Strategic Advisors on March 23 to find a buyer. It abruptly shifted gears a few days later when corporate assets were turned over to a San Francisco-based entity that acted as trustee for creditors, according to an individual familiar with the negotiations.
A Beautyscene customer-service representative said that the April issue of its Beautyzine, the company’s online magazine, should be up on the site in a few days. The individual also said that the site was down last week because the company was busy moving inventory from one distribution center to another. “Our center is still in New Jersey, but before [the change] it could not handle deliveries to certain addresses, such as post office box numbers. The new site can do UPS and USPS deliveries,” he said.
A few vendors told WWD they had stopped shipping to the firm because of its financial difficulties. Beautyscene also laid off staff members earlier this year. As noted, 94 percent of members and visitors prior to the sale of the company are female. About 54 percent of members are under age 28, while 58 percent of all buyers are also under age 28.
According to information from Beautyscene, the company has been posting average weekly sales in 2000 of $18,500 and average monthly sales of $74,000. And in spite of the company’s new cash infusion, there’s still a question of which beauty e-commerce pure-plays can succeed in what has become an intensely competitive landscape.
Tony Gill, creative president at Tony & Tina, predicted, “Inevitably, this time next year, there will only be one beauty Web site, and we’ll be on it. It’ll be kind of a takeover scenario. May the best one win.”