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Bluemercury Boosts Natural Beauty Offering

Industry sources suggest naturals could comprise 10 to 30 percent of the retailer's skin-care sales.

Bluemercury has a new naturals mandate.

After increased customer demand, the Washington, D.C.-based beauty retailer is doing a test program of niche naturals brands. A slew of lines, including Indie Lee, One Love Organics, Tracie Martyn, OSEA and Ilia Beauty and Raw Is Everything are bowing in 28 Bluemercury stores on Monday. Eight stores in high-volume markets — including the West Village and Union Square stores in New York— will be adding separate in-store fixtures highlighting products that are free of harsh chemicals and preservatives.

“Clients were always interested with our naturals offering, but now it’s accelerating,” said Marla Beck, cofounder and chief executive officer of Bluemercury.

Industry sources estimate that with the addition of the brands, naturals could comprise 10 to 30 percent of Bluemercury’s skin-care sales — its fastest-growing category — within a year.

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New skin-care lines will be the primary focus of the new naturals program, but Beck said she is intent on ramping up color cosmetics as well. “We’re extending into the color realm very aggressively, as that’s an area of high demand,” she said.

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As consumers increasingly link beauty with their diets, Beck noted she has seen a sharp uptick in consumers looking for products catering to various needs — vegan, gluten-free, containing raw ingredients, certified organic or a combination of all of these attributes.

“I liken it to food — everyone has their different beauty diet they want to be on, and we’re trying to extend the offering to meet everyone’s diet,” said Beck.

Beck has experience in naturals — Bluemercury already carries lines such as Juice Beauty, RMS Beauty and Odacite. The University of California: Berkeley grad — who has been a vegetarian since her college days — also developed the store’s in-house lines, M-61 skin-care and Lune + Aster makeup, to be some of Bluemercury’s first clean offerings.

Beck is betting on natural beauty as a long-term trend. “It’s not just that we’re betting on the growth,” said Beck. “We feel the drive toward healthy lifestyle — just looking at our clients, we have these themed e-mails and the most popular ones are about gym-spiration.”

Two segments within the naturals space Beck sees as areas for growth are products for acne and probiotic-based skin care. “Gen Z really cares about what’s in their products, and there are teens starting to buy acne products and say, ‘What’s in this?’” said Beck. “Environmental stewardship is really important.”