NEW YORK — Carol’s Daughter, one of the industry’s most star-studded indie brands, has hooked up with the merchandising might of Sephora.
The boutique beauty brand, which had its roots in founder Lisa Price’s Brooklyn kitchen, will enter 28 of the retailer’s U.S. doors in March. Locations will include South Beach, Fla.; Times Square in New York; Santa Monica, Calif., and the Houston Galleria, as well as sephora.com.
“We were approached by a number of retailers, but what we liked about Sephora was that it has a business model that works well with boutique brands like ours,” said Steve Stoute, the entertainment mogul who brokered the deal between Price and a constellation of Hollywood heavyweights — including Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith and Tommy Mottola — last May. Stoute is now also the managing partner of Carol’s Daughter.
“When you’re a boutique brand, you don’t necessarily need to be in 700 doors [like a department store brand often is],” continued Stoute. “And when you’re up-and-coming, you can’t necessarily afford chargebacks [also a department store issue]. And Sephora is widely seen as a beauty authority — that’s all they sell. This is our first outside partnership, and doing this with Sephora further announces that we have arrived [as a brand].”
Eventually, the brand could be in as many as 60 Sephora doors in the U.S., noted Clarissa Wilson, president of Carol’s Daughter.
“Not only do we love the products, but the close connection Carol’s Daughter has with its customers is the perfect complement to the unique client services Sephora provides,” said Allison Slater, vice president of retail marketing at Sephora. “We’re thrilled to become ‘a friend of the family’ [the brand’s terminology for customers] and to introduce this growing franchise to an entirely new world of beauty.”
While Sephora was open to doing an initial rollout larger than 28 doors, the Carol’s Daughter team wasn’t — at least, at the beginning. “The door count could have been much higher to start, but our aim was to present the brand in a very special way — and not every door Sephora proposed had room to do that,” said Price.
Added Wilson: “We were adamant about finding the doors with the best space and the most complementary brands. We respect our consumer and did not want to compromise.”
Each of the 28 Sephora doors will receive the same installation: a 9-foot display with three gondolas, which will feature 61 of the brand’s products, including bath, body and hair stockkeeping units. Like the freestanding Carol’s Daughter stores, there will be an emphasis on vignette-like displays at Sephora. “Our gondolas will have brick, sand, stone, grass, flowers — and mangoes,” said Stoute. “It’s completely different from what is in their stores now. They have a very strong design team which came to us with an initial plan, but we worked with them to enhance it. We think it’s unlike anything else out there.”
While the Sephora doors will be located nationwide, there is a particular emphasis on the East Coast of the U.S., noted Stoute. And while up until now the brand has only had non-mall stores, several major malls, including King of Prussia in Pennsylvania, are part of the Sephora mix. Next in the Sephora plans: an international rollout, with doors likely to open in the U.K. and in Latin America, said Stoute.
As well, Carol’s Daughter is not backing off its plan to open additional company-owned stores nationwide. The first store opened by Price continues to operate in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, and the first retail store to be opened under the star-studded partnership — an 1,800-square-foot freestanding space in Harlem, launched last September — will be followed up with stores in Philadelphia and Baltimore, as well as additional stores in New York state, said Stoute. Additional company-owned stores in the outer boroughs of New York City and in New Jersey malls are also part of the current plan.
At the brand’s deal-signing in May, Stoute said he believed that “there are 5,000 or 6,000 retail doors out there with potential.”
“We’re going to open up one door at a time and we’re going to keep building stores and our e-commerce site until someone pays attention,” he said at that time, adding that “the integrity of the woman who started this brand” is paramount, and he emphasized that the team has “nothing but time to make sure that the message is conveyed perfectly.”
Along with the Sephora rollout, several new products will be launched. They include Shea Souffle, a new body moisturizer with cocoa and shea butters, which are designed to hydrate skin and dry to a smooth finish. Shea Souffle will be sold in six scents — Almond Cookie, Ecstasy (a blend of pineapple, peach, mango, strawberry, vanilla and musk), Groove (with peach, pineapple, musk, sandalwood and vanilla), Jamaican Punch, Mango Melange and Ocean (lavender, rosemary, hyacinth, watermelon and cucumber). Available in March, the Souffles will retail for 4 oz. for $8.50 and $25 for 16 oz. As well, six new eaux de toilette, each $25, will launch at that time.