Target is hoping that a short-run makeup line will tap into the magic of its most successful designer events, such as the Missoni and Lilly Pulitzercollections, which cultivate an aura of specialness via scarcity, whip shoppers up into a frenzy, and sell out in a New York minute.
Via this new partnership with the three-year old skin-care and cosmetics brand, Target is building on the most robust parts of its beauty business – prestige assortments akin to what you’d fine at a department store, and products with a “better-for-you” edge, said Dawn Block, senior vice president of beauty and essentials for Target, at an event in New York last week.
Come September, Target will test its limited-edition ploy in the makeup aisle with a capsule collection from non-toxic beauty brand Beautycounter.
Block and Gregg Renfrew, founder and chief executive office of Beautycounter, respectively, which is sold through direct-sales consultants, on its website and via strategic partnerships like one with Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop.com, said the Target collaboration reflects a marriage of brands that share a social-conscience. Indeed, Target has been pushing into that space with merchandising programs such as Made to Matter, a line of natural, organic and sustainable products ranging from food and cleaning products to beauty.
For Beautycounter, the collaboration marks its mass-market debut. The California-based brand is built on the notion of “cleaner” products, banning 1,500 ingredients it deems questionable and harmful, which are ticked off on a “never list” that includes phthalates and parabens.
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Beautycounter’s 17-product line for Target is priced from $12 to $39, including items like Nourishing Face Oil and Lip Shine. But it remains to be seen if a Target limited-edition beauty line will drum up excitement akin to its designer collections.
Britanny Carter, industry analyst for market research firm IBISWorld, doesn’t see that happening. While high-end makeup collaborations are a “natural extension of this trend, and the launch will likely boost Target’s sales, the hype will not likely match its clothing counterparts. Consumers are less brand conscious with makeup products,” she told Forbes. “Aspirational shoppers will never be able to afford a $5,000 Dior dress but they can buy a $27 Dior mascara. The relatively low price point of luxury cosmetics limits the appeal of a limited edition Target line.”
Beauty was among Target’s best-selling categories in 2015, Target executives said, as prestige lines, such as Sweden’s Pixi by Petra Strand, which has sold in Selfridges, continue to outshine mass brands.
And the retailer’s signature capsule collections have had a halo effect on its other businesses, including beauty, according to Carter. ”Target is one of the few discount stores that has managed to brand itself as a relatively upscale retailer with high-quality items. This is largely due to its lucrative collection launches with top designers.”