Byline: Kerry Diamond

NEW YORK — Bobbi Brown, the makeup maven from Montclair, N.J., the inspiration to soccer moms everywhere, the upbeat “Today Show” contributor — at Barneys New York?
Actually, it’s not that weird a match. Brown might appeal to a wide swath of suburban women, but she has her fans among the urban gals as well.
“We’ve always had this very strong customer request for Bobbi,” noted Maree Lavo, vice president and divisional merchandise manager for cosmetics at Barneys. “We want to satisfy customer requests and needs and this is a very sophisticated brand.”
As a result, Barneys has added a 400-square-foot Bobbi Brown in-store shop in the apothecary section of its Madison Avenue flagship beauty department. “The time was right for expansion into Barneys,” said Carol Pennelli, senior vice president of sales, education and global artistry for Bobbi Brown Professional Cosmetics. “Barneys has become a real player and they’re competing head to head with specialty stores.”
The in-store boutique, which is being referred to as a “concept shop,” opened on Saturday. It features matte silver walls that are actually hand-rubbed mirrors and cases made of Brown’s signature pale wood. An entire wall is devoted to Bobbi Brown ColorOptions and a museum case, lit from within, serves as a showcase for Brown’s brush collection.
Brown was on hand Wednesday to sign copies of her two books and to work with customers who were alerted by direct mail, e-mail and an ad in the Sunday New York Times. On Wednesday afternoon, the shop was packed with women eager to meet the makeup artist.
“It’s taken so long to be in Barneys, but it was worth the wait,” said Brown. “They have such a playful spirit here that we can do things I didn’t think were my style.”
The Barneys’ shop will be the only New York location where the Bobbi Brown professional makeup artist discount is offered. Makeup artists, models and stylists must apply in person and provide tear sheets, a union membership card and a business card.
Although Pennelli would not provide a sales target for the shop, she did say that the Barneys’ door is expected to be among the brand’s top 20 doors. “Our goal is to rank number one in year one,” said Pennelli. “We wouldn’t be opening this store if we didn’t think we could be their number-one beauty business.”
According to industry sources, a brand would have to do around $2 million in retail sales to achieve the top ranking at the Barneys flagship.

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