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LOS ANGELES — Harry Haralambus is a rare name, but it is popping up pretty often these days in the Southern California beauty industry.
In the last two years, Haralambus’ investment firm, Lambus Partners, quietly acquired Los Angeles area cosmetics brands DuWop Cosmetics and Lola Cosmetics, skin care brand Leaf & Rusher and manufacturer All About Beauty Cosmetics Inc. for undisclosed sums. ImaStar Corp., a company under Lambus Partners, also secured the license to produce makeup affiliated with the “Twilight” series of movies and is piggybacking on Marc Jacobs’ fragrance business by allowing Coty Inc., the fragrance licensee for Lola Cosmetics, to use the moniker Lola for Jacobs’ newest perfume.
At a meeting earlier this month at Haralambus’ Sunset Boulevard offices here, the South Africa native of Greek descent spoke for the first time publicly about his move from international cosmetics distribution, which he has handled over the years for the likes of Stila and Fusion Brands, to beauty brand building. He gathered executives from the various Lambus and ImaStar properties to discuss brand expansion strategies and the broader objectives of his budding portfolio.
“We’re now making the statement that this company is a serious cosmetic company that is doing very well,” said Kimberly Clark, who founded All About Beauty with Esmy Mancia. “If you look at the West Coast, what we’re known for is innovation — the brands [such as] Hard Candy and Too Faced….Harry understands the entrepreneurialism that brands are built upon and the wonderful success of creativity, and what he brings is the business side.”
Haralambus’ business acumen is being tested with Twilight. Although hesitant to jump on the beauty license bandwagon, he decided to get on board with Twilight because he believed its cachet could sustain cosmetics after the run of the movies and its appeal extended beyond teenagers. “If I walked into a store, I feel like I would buy it without affiliation,” said Jaega Haralambus, Harry’s daughter and Twilight project coordinator. “You will find with fans of ‘Twilight,’ that it’s not just teenyboppers, the moms have all started reading the books and watching the movies.”
The Twilight beauty franchise has been separated into two lines. Volturi Twilight, named for a ruling vampire clan in the “Twilight” series, is aimed largely at teens and is launching the middle of next month at Hot Topic, Torrid and Ulta. Luna Twilight, a play on the moon themes in “Twilight,” is targeting older girls and teenagers’ mothers and is launching in the middle of next month at Nordstrom and Dillard’s. DuWop is also a part of the Twilight initiative and has introduced the lip stain Twilight Venom for $16 on Sephora.com. Prices for Volturi’s 21 stockkeeping units run from $9 to $19, and prices for Luna’s 35 sku’s are $18 to $34.
Haralambus’ initial beauty brand acquisition, DuWop, has undergone a thorough evaluation of its lineup. A brand known for innovation epitomized by its Venom plumping products, he explained DuWop doesn’t want to stop innovation, but is attempting to build a following for its basic products — the $38 Foundation of Youth antiaging foundation, for instance — and widen its demographics beyond young shoppers. “You are going to find that we are not going to try to be cutting edge across the board,” said Haralambus. Added Cristina Bartolucci, DuWop co-founder and chief creative officer, “The goal of DuWop is to become an antidemographic line.”