NICOLE STAYS TUNED TO YOUNG CUSTOMER

Byline: Nicole Catanese

NEW YORK — With so many brands looking to build their teen consumer base, Nicole is taking steps to insure that its young customers remain loyal.
Earlier this summer, the nail polish brand hooked up with the multicultural girl group i-5 to spread the word about Metamorphosis, a color collection that represents a teenage girl’s ability to change her polish as often as she changes her mind. The band’s bus was adorned with the Nicole logo and a butterfly to represent Metamorphosis.
The line consists of eight iridescent and holographic shades with names that emulate the psyche of most teenagers, like Attitude Adjustment, Temperamental, Get Over It, Ego Alert, Mood Swing and Whatever. Coordinating lip gloss and lip lacquers launched recently.
George Schaeffer, president of OPI, the parent company of Nicole, decided to pursue the music connection and got a positive response from his daughter and company namesake, Nicole Schaeffer.
“I felt that to relate nail polish and music would be so cool,” she said. She especially liked how the diversity of the band and the individuality of the band members meshed with the whole idea behind Metamorphosis.
Another way the brand works to stay relevant with its young audience is through its “board of directors.” This group consists of Nicole Schaeffer, who is “chairman” of the board, and other young women who help develop and name products and who also provided input for Colors with a Conscience, a program that provides a portion of sales from the Nicole line to four charities selected by the board members. These charities include Star Bright Foundation, Gilda’s Club, American Oceans and Europe’s Project Hope.
In 1999, Colors with a Conscience donated $150,000 to each charity and Suzi Weiss-Fischmann, OPI executive vice president and artistic director, expects that number to increase this year.
Nicole nail lacquers retail for $10 per bottle and are sold in various locations, including salons at Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and J.C. Penney Co. Industry sources estimate the line’s retail sales projection for 2000 at $10 million.

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