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12 Nail Polish Shades Turned Into 900

Posted by Andrea Welzien on Friday, January 4th, 2019

Essie Weingarten always knew she wanted to own her own company. Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, starting a business was in her blood – she just didn’t know which direction she would go. As a little girl, Essie’s mother would reward her for good behavior by taking her to the nail salon. Essie looked forward to the visit every week after her ballet lessons. However, she found the color choices to be a bit boring. It was looking back on these memories that gave Essie the inspiration to start her own nail polish company.

Essie was born and raised in New York, and went to school at the Fashion Institute of Technology. She always had a love of fashion, and held numerous jobs in the field after she graduated. In 1981, she took her life savings of just $10,000 and decided to go for it. She had 12 colors made at a lab, and put together little kits with one of each. After much thought, Essie decided that Las Vegas was the perfect place to launch her brand. “What happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas, necessarily,” said Essie. She thought Vegas would be a place where women have a higher disposable income. She figured they also needed to look well-groomed with jobs like dancing, casino dealing, and cocktail waitressing where they were in front of the public constantly. “If I could get them to wear it and talk about it, it would spread like wildfire,” she said. And it did.

After she delivered her kits of 12 shades to 100 salons in Las Vegas, they were calling her within weeks with orders for more. Women who were on vacation in Vegas told their home manicurists about the polish, and Essie was getting orders from states all around the country. Within just one year, the Essie brand was in 10,000 salons across the country! The year after that it got picked up internationally. Business was booming. L’Oreal came to Essie in 2005 and wanted to buy the company, but she said no. However, in 2010 during the recession, she agreed. At that time, Essie was bringing in $28 million in sales!

Essie now has over 900 shades, each with creatives play-on-words names such as “Glow with the Flow” and “Just the Way You Artic”. Her Ballet Slippers shade was even requested by Queen Elizabeth II herself. From a little ballerina getting manicures with her mom, to now having her brand in more than 25,000 salons across the country, she is truly an inspiration to follow your dreams. “Not bad for a little girl from Queens,” said Essie.

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Serial Entrepreneur Behind Bliss Spa, Soap & Glory, FitFlop & Beauty Pie

Posted by Andrea Welzien on Wednesday, November 28th, 2018

Some call Marcia Kilgore a serial entrepreneur. She has ideas that just won’t stop, and the motivation to put her plans into action. Founder of Bliss Spa, Soap & Glory, FitFlop and Beauty Pie, she takes her genius ideas and acts fast to turn them into successful companies.

Bliss Spa
Kilgore is a native Canadian, who moved to Manhattan in 1987, and started school at Columbia University. As a result of suffering from acne as a teenager, she decided to focus on skin care. She began giving facials to her friends in her apartment, and later in 1991 she opened her first one-room spa. Demand steadily increased, and she opened the first full-blown Bliss Spa in 1996. Motivated to continue her entrepreneurial streak, she sold Bliss in 1999.

Soap & Glory
While reading hilarious celebrity headlines on tabloid magazine covers, Kilgore had the idea to start Soap & Glory. She thought, “these tabloids are genius: an inexpensive laugh that takes you out of your mundane life. Why not mix that with the other thing that women love, cosmetics?” So, in 2006 Soap & Glory was launched. She purposefully leaves out the scientific claims that other products boast, thinking that they all start to sound the same. Kilgore says, “those statistics are meaningless. I just think, ‘Would I buy this?'” With product names like Clean On Me Shower Gel and Sexy Mother Pucker Lip Gloss, it seems she succeeded in her approach to combine humor with beauty.

Unable to stop thinking of ideas, Kilgore was at a cellulite seminar (yes, you heard that right) when she got the idea for her third company, FitFlop. She thought “wouldn’t it be great if there was a shoe that gave your legs a work-out while you walk?” In 2007, FitFlop was born. The shoe has a patented Microwobbleboard midsole that acts as a shock absorber, and it’s curved sole gently “floats” the foot. FitFlop has been very successful and has received tons of fan letters. Kilgore started out replying to each letter herself, but had to stop as they eventually received over 20,000 letters! FitFlop is now sold in more than 60 countries.

Beauty Pie
After selling Soap & Glory to Boots in 2014, Kilgore went on to start what she called her “best idea yet” – affordable luxury makeup and skincare brand Beauty Pie. It’s a membership-based service where women can purchase top luxury beauty products for a fraction of the retail price. Kilgore says she’s making the cosmetics market “fairer for women”. “Why shouldn’t everyone be able to afford the best eye shadow or mascara? The industry was ripe for disruption”, she says, “because anything that’s better for the customer is going to win”. Beauty Pie launched in 2016, and is continuing to gain popularity and momentum.

Kilgore is an inspiration to women all around the world. She’s somehow able to keep up with the demands of kids, while continuing to come up with light bulb ideas for new businesses. This serial entrepreneur has shown that if you take your great ideas, and turn them into action quickly, you can succeed. She says, “I will come up with these ideas and think, ‘I can’t do that’. And then I’ll think, ‘well, come on, I have to do that’. And then I’ll think, ‘God, if I don’t do that fast, somebody else is going to do it.” We can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!

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History Behind the First Mascara
Produced in America

Posted by Andrea Welzien on Wednesday, October 24th, 2018

Thomas Lyle Williams was born in 1896 in Morganfield, Kentucky. After moving to Chicago when he was young, he got his first job working at Montgomery Ward, the mail order retailer and department store. Soon after, he opened his own mail order business. While living in Chicago, Williams met an advertising executive named Emery Shaver, who later would become his life partner.

In 1915, Williams found his sister, Mabel, applying a dark mixture to her eyelashes and eyebrows. A kitchen fire had singed her brows and lashes, so she created a homemade mixture to disguise the fact and enhance their appearance. Mabel made her own product using petroleum jelly mixed with coal dust and burnt cork to darken her lashes and enhance her eyes. Williams came up with the idea to sell the product and tried to create his own but failed. He then commissioned drug manufacturer, Parke-Davis, to produce a product he named Lash-Brow-Ine. The product added a sheen to eyebrows and lashes, but did not give them that dark look. Then in 1917, Williams created a new product for darkening and lengthening lashes. He called the product Maybelline—inspired by his sister Mabel—and it became the first mascara ever produced in America.

By 1929, Williams had grown his business to include eyeshadow and eyebrow pencils. Maybelline soon became an international company, and in the wake of its success, Williams and Shaver bought a house together in Hollywood Hills. They purchased the home from Italian actor Rudolph Valentino. Although the company’s headquarters remained in Chicago, Williams and Shaver were responsible for marketing. Shaver took advantage of living in Hollywood and contracted famous actresses to promote Maybelline’s products. They spent over one million dollars on advertising between 1915 and 1929, hiring famous movie stars including Phyllis Haver, Ethel Clayton, Viola Dana, and Natalie Moorhead.

The company continued to gain momentum and sales were booming. However, when Williams’ life partner, Shaver, passed away in 1964, Williams became so depressed he sold the company just four years later in 1968. Then in 2001, Maybelline became Maybelline New York when it was sold to L’Oréal. To this day, Maybelline New York takes pride in growing “from a small family-owned business to the number one cosmetics company in America”.

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Built With Love

Posted by Andrea Welzien on Tuesday, September 25th, 2018

In 1993, Lisa Price began creating her own hair and body products in her kitchen in Brooklyn. Her recipes are made with love and her inspiration came from her mom, Carol, which inspired her company’s name. She first began selling her products at local flea markets and festivals. Then in 1999, she opened the first Carol’s Daughter boutique in Ft. Greene, Brooklyn. She then went online to begin selling Carol’s Daughter products from her website. Success soon followed and in 2002 Lisa Price was hosted on the Oprah Winfrey Show, which boosted popularity of her products immensely.

Price is truly a beauty pioneer—she has authored her own book, “Success Never Smelled So Sweet”, and traveled around the world. After a trip to Tahiti, she introduced a line of Monoi Oil products (made from Tahitian Gardenias), which are now the brand’s #1 selling collection.

In 2014, Carol’s Daughter launched in Target, and in 2015 was obtained by L’Oréal. After a whirlwind of success, Lisa Price’s dreams came true. Recently in 2017, a jar of Carol’s Daughter Healthy Hair Butter was added to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture! Carol’s Daughter hair and skin care products are sold in more than 30,000 stores across the country today.

This year, the company is commemorating 25 years in business – a long way from where Price started in 1993. In honor of their 25th anniversary, the brand has launched a campaign called “No Apologies, Born and Made” that inspires woman to embrace their individuality. Price is quoted as saying “I feel more confident than I ever have because we’re approaching 25 years, so the next 25 years should be fine”. She has truly been an inspiration to women to follow their dreams and has showed it’s possible to build a successful product and brand when you start with a labor of love.

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Retailers Need to Surprise & Delight

Posted by Andrea Welzien on Wednesday, September 5th, 2018

Written by Joann Marks
The following article was featured in the August 2018 Issue of Drugstore News

When was the last time you were truly delighted about a shopping experience? Not about the product (which you could buy almost anywhere), but the actual shopping experience?

You likely haven’t left many stores thinking, “I need to tell all my friends about this!” – unless the experience was awful, in which case you want to tell everyone. In fact, customers who have a BAD experience are two to three times more likely to write a review about it than are customers who had a great experience. Research indicates that each negative review not countered by at least 12 positive ones can cost up to 30 NEW customers. Plus, 42% of customers purchase more after a good experience, while 52% stop making purchases after just ONE bad experience.

Even if we aren’t worried about negative reviews, most shopping experiences are perfunctory. Customers EXPECT a pleasant experience; service should be efficient and polite. A friend used to tell her kids that “good behavior is expected, not rewarded.” In other words, they needed to go over and above to get that ice cream they wanted.

What are we doing in retail today to earn the ice cream? Every chain is working to keep their customers happy; others are really working hard to delight their customers – to exceed expectations, not just satisfy them.

Recently, Ulta decided to randomly reward their top loyalty customers. In conjunction with vendors, they direct mailed a gift – sometimes a full-size product – just for being a loyalty member. This resulted in tons of positive social media and traffic into the stores. Customers were so appreciative of coming home after a long day at work and getting an awesome gift, they told tons of people about it. Bloomingdales constantly surprises me with special offers mailed in very engaging packaging. DSW remembers my birthday every year with a card and a great discount coupon. Similarly, Sephora’s three-tiered reward program offers their best customers more freebies and engagement.

The best example of empowered employees might be here in Orlando, home of Walt Disney World, where staff are expected to make each guest’s visit “magical” with personal attention and service. Their guest return rate is an enviable 70%. It’s not practical to give away product on a large scale, but there are other ways to make customers feel special. This is all about projecting caring and being creative in making their experiences delightful.

Buying beauty online increases every year and almost 40% of all beauty products purchased on-line are bought through Amazon. This counters the notion that mass beauty is flat because there are no testers or help to locate the right shade in stores. It proves that to drive people to the store, we need to make their shopping experience not only satisfying, but engaging, personal and delightful.

Some suggestions to “surprise and delight”:

  • Empower your employees – give them leeway to make the customer’s day magical in some way.
  • Direct mail – send them something out of the blue, even a small gift will delight them.
  • Personal Invitations – host a fun, themed party for your best customers – make them RSVP. Think of ways to make them feel like a VIP, like pre-sale shopping hours or a special coupon discount.
  • Remember their birthday – everyone loves getting a birthday card, especially with a coupon for a free product driving them to the store.
  • Pop Up beauty schools – bring in professional makeup artists and trainers and hold a pop-up school. Women love beauty hacks and are even willing to pay for a class.
  • Surprise savings – instead of putting a coupon on the back of a receipt hoping that will encourage quick return, why not just surprise them with a discount on their next visit within a certain number of days?

Our company is committed to finding new ways to surprise and delight customers. We want to get the ice cream!

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Cosmetic Promotions: Retail Beauty Marketing
Cosmetic Promotions, Inc.
2111 W Pine St. Orlando, FL 32805
Phone: 407-310-4839