Byline: Faye Brookman

NEW YORK — Now teen customers have an outlet for their mood swings.
My Emotions, a new specialty store targeted at young women aged 15- to 25- years-old, bowed in Miami’s The Falls shopping center on Oct. 14. The 1,300-square-foot store is packed with products coveted by young shoppers, ranging from the top compact discs and books to candles and beauty products. Industry sources estimate that the fine-tuned merchandise mix could produce annual sales approaching the $500,000 mark.
About 90 percent of the merchandise mix in beauty is private label and divided into 12 emotions — such as envy or heartache. There are also branded cosmetics from companies such as Caboodles and Ferity.
Although those color cosmetics lines are also available at traditional mass merchants, My Emotions president Thomas Souza said the store is dramatically different from competitors.
“We made this store look and feel like a place where teens want to hang out,” said Souza, an executive who knows the pulse of the teen market from his former post at Claire’s. Souza thinks My Emotions goes way beyond Claire’s approach to catching the whims of fickle teen shoppers. He created the concept after traveling around the country and realizing no retailer had discovered the right formula.
Souza’s solution is a store dominated by a huge area called the Chillin’ Station, where teens can hang and listen to the 25 top tunes. There’s also a fragrance bar with oils where customers can create their own fragrances complete with personalized labels. A restaurant-inspired menu board displays the scents.
The design of the store is a far cry from traditional retailers: one wall is painted green, another purple. The floor is faux painted in silver.
Borrowing a cue from Fresh, My Emotions also has areas where shoppers can cut their own soap. The selection of 10,000 stockkeeping units is rounded out with candles, accessories, cards and home decor.
“What really surprised me at the opening was how well books and diaries seemed to do,” said Souza. “We also really blew out of Caboodles cosmetics.”
Although Souza admitted there are many competitors — even in the same mall — for teen bath and body dollars, he’s hoping My Emotions wins out. “We are giving them a very high quality product at prices they can afford,” he said.
Most prices are higher than drugstores, but less than upscale teen brands. Souza has worked hard to insure that there is a high level of service in the stores.
And, to keep My Emotions on the precipice of ever-changing teen moods, Souza has established a focus group that meets monthly to discuss trends.
Souza plans to open in Sawgrass Mills in Sunrise, Fla., next month with an additional store in the Sunshine Square Plaza in Boynton Beach, Fla., opening prior to the end of 2000. He hopes to open anywhere from between 15 to 50 stores in 2001, depending on financing. Eventually, he has plans to take My Emotions public.
With teen spending burgeoning virtually ever day, it is no surprise Souza isn’t alone in his quest to wrench teens from their dollars. Mass merchants are finally culling out areas in stores for youth departments (see related story on CVS). Also, Claire’s extended its franchise with the opening of Velvet Pixies. Other specialty players range from 100 percent Girls to Rave Girl.
Another Claire’s alumna, Mary Drolet, has also opened a teen paradise called Club Libby Lu. Located in the Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, Ill., Club Libby Lu also sells pots and pots of gels and lotions. Another pioneer in marketing to young customers, Skin Market which made its debut last year, now has seven stores.

Looking for a few makeup-artist tricks to pass on to in-store beauty consultants? Makeup artist Samantha House shared some of her secrets with the audience at the Chain Drug Marketing Association’s Cosmetics Buyers Forum in September. “Apply liquid foundation with a makeup brush,” said House who performed makeovers on two chain drug buyers. “And, if you use powder foundation, use a powder blush. Likewise, use liquids with liquids.”
House said the big color stories for fall and winter would be plums and golds. She suggested eye shadow be applied in an arch pattern starting at a point underneath the brow.
House said she’s a fanatic for mass brands, especially L’Oreal and Maybelline mascaras. “Some people don’t like me to tell this, but I use plenty of mass brands,” said House.

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