Stores won’t sell Iman’s cosmetics line for women of color
Don’t you think Iman’s successful makeup line should be easily accessible on store shelves?
Supermodel and super entrepreneur Iman, 56, started a makeup line for women of color back in 1994. It quickly became super successful at J.C. Penney, earning an impressive $25 million in the first two years, according to a smart piece in New York magazine.
But taking it to the mass market, meaning getting it on mainstream retailer store shelves, has been much tougher than she ever expected, she said at WWD’s Beauty CEO Summit late last month. In assessing the situation, Iman expressed her dismay:
I didn’t understand that … if they have 1,000 doors, 200 are for women of color,” she said.
Stores like Walgreens and Target were not only hesitant to carry her products, they wouldn’t shelve them in the mainstream beauty aisle.
It was a no-go. They wanted me to be placed at the back, which they considered, like it is, for the ethnic section, which I was totally against it for no other reason but ’cause also I never considered myself an ethnic brand,” Iman said.
This is nonsensical for myriad reasons but a big one is that we are still, for all intents and purposes, in a recession. Wouldn’t you think stores would want to curry favor with their customers? Jezebel reported:
African-American women spend $7.5 billion annually on beauty products, but shell out 80 percent more money on cosmetics and twice as much on skin care products than the general market, according to the research. That difference comes as African-American women sample many more products to find the ones that are most effective on their skin.
And that was in 2009, so it’s got to be even more now! Iman recently launched a liquid foundation for women of color and it became her biggest seller within 3 months.
Most of Iman’s business is online. Which underscores the trust her following has in her products and expertise (her website is very comprehensive and helpful), but it doesn’t ameliorate the fact that women should able to go into their local store and test the product if they want to, feel it, smell it, sample it.
Aside: That’s why stores like Sephora have been so successful. And The Body Shop is now launching a new concept in their stores – Pulse boutiques — where women can immerse themselves in the products in an experiential way.
Hello? In a depressed economy, you’d think retailers would seize any opportunity to sell to an eager market. It’s a no-brainer. But maybe we’re dealing with people with no brains.