RETAILERS EYE TEEN ACCESSORIES
Byline: Faye Brookman
NEW YORK — As retailers add teen beauty departments at a furious pace, they are looking for other products to augment cosmetics sales.
One of the fastest growing segments at chains such as ShopKo, Target and CVS is fashion accessories. From funky ponytail holders to slinky bracelets, accessories are gobbled up by young shoppers. Hair accessory sales, according to Information Resources Inc., jumped almost 6 percent last year; jewelry sales were up 8 percent.
An accessories firm called Bay Sales Co. is hoping to duplicate in accessories what promotional cosmetics companies such as Just Having Fun — with Petunia — and Added Extra — with Body Charms — have done in cosmetics.
“We don’t want to be in the ‘planogrammed’ area of accessories,” explained Bay Sales’ owner Steven Friedland. “That area isn’t trendy. There’s a void in the industry for a company that can bring the latest fashions to be displayed on power wings or displays.”
Just as glitter has revolutionized cosmetics, there are styles shaping up accessories from a once staid and basics business to one driven by fashion. Last year, for example, retailers jumped onto the power beads trend. This year, Bay has a host of items vying to be the “it” product.
One product area with huge potential, said Gary Furey, vice president of sales, is Swarovski crystal tattoos. The tattoos, made of crystals, are in shapes such as moons and hearts. “The reaction at [the National Association of Chain Drug Stores] Marketplace was phenomenal and we think the tattoos can be a big holiday item.” The tattoos have a suggested retail of $4.99.
The company has also developed an ongoing promotional line called Girlz Only Club that consists of fashion-forward hair accessories and jewelry. Among the hottest new items within the assortment, according to Furey, are slinky bracelets, multicolored beaded fabric necklaces and flower hair twists. “We want it to be like a trendy club, an area where shoppers look for what’s new,” said Furey. Item prices range from $1.99 to $2.99.
Bay Sales has been a leading importer for years and has now set its sights on expanding into the U.S. mass market. “What we bring is fashion at affordable prices. The mass market doesn’t want to be caught without the latest styles,” said Friedland. One buyer who had visited the firm’s booth at Marketplace said the company had some items perfect for her chain to keep up with Claire’s Boutique. “And,” she said, “we can make some nice profit on it, too.”
While Bay attempts to attract young customers with edgy jewelry, Added Extras has extended distribution of its Body Charms line. Target Stores, for example, has added Body Charms to its end-of-aisle miniature products display. To give Body Charms a “face,” Added Extras is using a Japanimation spokesmodel called Jasmine who is now appearing on packaging and display headers.
Among the new items are Body Shots, a trio of lip and eye shadows; Spin Central, a collection of shadows in a CD jewel box; a cosmetics purse set; and boldly colored mirror compacts.
There’s a plethora of items aimed a tweens and teens, but a shrinking number of brands targeted at women of color. When AM Cosmetics acquired Pavion Inc. three years ago, it phased out Pavion’s Hispanic color line called Solo Para Ti. Now, according to company chairman Arne Zimmerman, AM is recasting another AM property, Tropez, to reach Hispanic customers. According to Zimmerman, multicultural models are being integrated into signs on the displays for the line. “We’ll do a test with some retailers, putting it into stores with a large Hispanic population,” said Zimmerman. “It might not be right for all stores, but most chains have some doors within their company where it will fit.” Consumer spending by Hispanics shattered the $30 billion mark last year, according to Strategy Research Corp. Fueling that is a growing population currently pegged at 32.4 million that is set to expand to 36 million by 2005. “At that time, Hispanics will be the largest minority in the U.S.,” said Manny Ruiz, the co-founder of Porter Novelli’s National Hispanic Practice. In the mass market, however, there are no lines targeted solely at Hispanic customers.
To further distinguish AM’s brands from one another, Zimmerman is shifting Artmatic into value stores like Dollar General. In the past, AM’s two budget properties — Wet ‘n’ Wild and Artmatic — were about equally distributed in the nation’s mass market doors. Now, Zimmerman is encouraging food, drug and discount stores to stock Wet ‘n’ Wild, while so-called “dollar stores” feature Artmatic. “Dollar stores are an overlooked, but growing, portion of sales,” said Zimmerman.
Additionally, Zimmerman announced the appointment of Dan Lawrence as the firm’s new senior vice president of sales, responsible for sales in the U.S. and Canada. He succeeds Hugh Scollins who has left to pursue other opportunities, the company said. Lawrence’s experience includes Revlon, Almay, Ultima II and StreetWear brands.
At the upscale end of the market, a company called Real Cosmetics is attempting to fill a need in the market for a line of beauty products for women of color. Lubna Khalid, a Pakistani-American model, was hard-pressed to find shades right for her skin so she created Real Cosmetics, based in Berkeley, Cal. The Real Cosmetics lineup consists of everything from foundation to lipsticks and is available online. Khalid is also hoping to achieve distribution in specialty and department stores. Although there are two major brands in department stores aimed at the ethnic market, Khalid feels the brands don’t address a wide array of complexions.
Two beauty categories were selected as “best of” the new products at the recent Marketplace meeting. The Precious Moments Baby Collection of Toiletries from Crystal Creations Inc. was singled out as the best health and beauty care launch. L.A. Girl Cosmetic’s Compact Disc from Beauty 21 Cosmetics/L.A. copped honors in cosmetics. More than 200 newly introduced products were displayed in a special showcase and judged by retailers.