What’s in my makeup travel kit

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I’m off for two days of meetings. In my makeup bag:

What’s New in Beauty – May 12, 2005: Yue-Sai, Costco, Webby Awards, cosmetic buying trends

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China’s Yue-Sai goes global: L’Oreal will launch Yue-Sai, the Chinese cosmetics brand, first in Asia and then in Europe and North America. Yue-Sai was founded by Chinese-American TV presenter Yue-Sai Kan. L’Oreal acquired Yue-Sai from the Lancaster Group in January 2004.

Costco developing its own cosmetics brandCostco, the Seattle-based wholesale buyers’ club that can supply you from cradle to grave, is developing its own cosmetics brand in partnership with Borghese. The Style Page has previously written on cosmetics brands exclusive to a store chain: IsaDora (Walgreen’s), Lumene (CVS), Per Una (UK’s Marks & Spencer), No 7 (UK’s Boots), and good skin, American Beauty, and Flirt! (Kohl’s).

The Webby Award winners have been announced: in the Beauty and Cosmetics category, the winner was, a web site for method‘s holiday gift set. Its gimmick was providing a place to read confessions and post confessions to “come clean.” The People’s Choice winner was the Mary Kay personal consultant siteno surprise there.

Finally, the article Specialty format steals department store beauty dollar from discusses how specialty and discount stores are taking market share for cosmetics purchases from traditional department stores. The merger of the major U.S. department store chains – Federated (Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s) and May (Lord & Taylor, Robinson’s-May, Hecht’s, Famous-Barr, etc.) will result in fewer consumer choices among department stores.

The Style Page notes that one challenge is that salespeople at department stores represent and work on behalf of a particular cosmetics brand. If department stores and their suppliers (notably Estee Lauder Companies) want to win back market share, they should scrap the current system in favor of salespeople/advisors who can advise on several brands and provide central checkouts for cosmetics purchases.

Update: Soon after I published this post, I found that Shoppers Drug Mart, a drugstore chain in Canada, is negotiating with Estee Lauder Companies to distribute various Estee Lauder brands through their stores. More evidence about the change in buyers’ habits.

Beauty from Kohl’s Department Stores

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The marketing of cosmetics is a strange business. Sears rolled out its Circle of Beauty concept comprising fragrance, skin care, and color cosmetics with much fanfare, and then decided to exit the beauty business only a few years later. JC Penney announced it too was getting out of the beauty business and stopped carrying Iman, Color Me Beautiful, and Ultima II at its stores. The decisions of Sears and JC Penney to get out of selling cosmetics was a blow to Avon, which expected to market its beComing line through these retail outlets. Avon therefore had to rely on its traditional means of selling (sales representatives, carts at the mall) to market beComing.

Discount stores have sought to distinguish themselves by selling products its competitors don’t have. Wal-Mart sells Coty’s Rimmel, while Target sells a cosmetics line from makeup artist Sonia Kashuk. The beleaguered KMart Corporation is not selling an exclusive line of cosmetics, but given the energy it’s put into advertising its new clothing lines (including ads in Vogue), I wouldn’t be surprised if KMart rolled out its own line of cosmetics.

I have already written about Walgreen’s selling IsaDora cosmetics from Sweden and CVS’s selling Lumene Cosmetics .

Mid-priced stores such as Caldor and Upton’s have gone out of business altogether, and the market leader in this category is clearly Kohl’s. Kohl’s has entered into marketing cosmetics in a most audacious way. It has partnered with the Beauty Bank division of Estee Lauder Companies to establish three cosmetics lines in its stores. The three lines are good skin, American Beauty, and Flirt!

good skin offers skin care products, of course. The packages are color-coded according to complexion. Good skin care also offers foundation and concealers.

American Beauty features a real American beauty – Ashley Judd – as its “face.” I have been in love with Ashley Judd ever since seeing her in the movie Simon Birch and linger over magazines on which she’s featured on the cover, but even she can’t excite me in this cosmetics line.

Flirt! is the most captivating of the three cosmetics lines. It’s targeted to younger consumers and features a wide range of colors (and of course, shimmer). The Style Page judges a cosmetics line by its selection of eye shadows, and Flirt! offers a wide variety of both matte and shimmery colors. The boxes are color-coded and the eye shadow container slides open and a mirror pop ups (great packaging, but needless). The Style Page bought Dreamy Eyes Eyeshadow ($10) in Mellowtini, a shimmery olive that would be appropriate for the crease or the wedge (the outer third of the eyelid).