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“The business model is actually reversed from the typical P&G or L’Oréal business model, where instead of spending 20 or 30 percent of our revenue in advertising, it goes into the formula,” said Mager. “At the end of the day, what we are able to spend for our formula is strictly equivalent to what prestige brands are spending.”
The packaging is above grade as well, chimed in Oshry. The majority of Flower’s products are encased in white and rose gold. The white was chosen because its happy, clean and unintimidating, unlike the army of black packaging at prestige retailers. The rose gold adds a sumptuous touch. “It’s so luxurious, but also approachable,” said Oshry of the packaging.
Asked what the star products in Flower’s lineup are, Petra Tucker-Moss, senior director, product development and marketing at Maesa, declined to pick favorites. “We are a line of star products. There is not one item we compromised on,” she said. However, she and Barrymore did go on to extoll the attributes of Flower’s Ultimate Mascara, Powder Up loose powder and its BB cream.
Tucker-Moss said Flower’s BB cream is a “true BB cream.” “It is not the new version, which is really a marketing twist. They are tinted moisturizers,” she said. “Ours is an actual treatment cream that addresses everything from blemishes to enlarged pores.” Talking about Powder Up, she continued, “Our loose powder is quadruple milled. Only one factory — ours — has the machine to physically do it. It’s only been at prestige. It’s never been seen at mass before.”
Barrymore elucidated that Ultimate Mascara is a modern take on Maybelline Dial-a-Lash, a favorite makeup product of hers from the Eighties that allowed users to adjust how much mascara they wanted to put on. Ultimate Mascara has three settings for the brush, so users can choose to enhance lashes’ length, thickness or curl — or all three. “If you are feeling thickening one day, just leave it [the brush] scrunched. If you just want lengthening, leave it long, but if you want that amazing, grab it, clump it, thicken it, brush-out quality, you move the wand around,” she said.
The timing of Flower’s prestige positioning at mass couldn’t have been better. Bauza indicated Wal-Mart customers are hungry to get their hands on quality products at prices that don’t break the bank. “Based on the current economic conditions, we’ve seen that the customer does have concerns. There’s a new normal out there, but, with that new normal, she still wants to feel beautiful. She still wants to be able to spend on herself, and we want to allow her to be able to still do that and not feel guilty,” she said.
The timing of Flower also couldn’t have been better for Barrymore. When Maesa approached her about a year ago, Barrymore was at the tail end of her contract with Cover Girl that is up in January and, with a baby then soon to arrive, had decided to push the pause button on her busy movie-making schedule. She was filling her freed up schedule with cooking because, she explains, “I didn’t want to be the kind of mom who didn’t know how to cook.
“This last year when I’ve been developing this, there wasn’t any films, there wasn’t anything else,” she said. “This was something that we really dedicated ourselves to, and we couldn’t have pulled it off in this way otherwise in this amount of time. It was really my sole project, and I don’t want to do things where I am just checking in and out. I really do everything at infinite percent.”
In Barrymore, Maesa had found a proven cosmetics player ready to take on her next challenge in the beauty arena. “This is not a celebrity brand,” said Oshry. “This is a brand that was built by business people that have a passion for this particular segment of the market. Drew is an owner and one of the founders of a new color cosmetics line.” To Wal-Mart’s Bauza, that involvement is key. “We have not seen success when you have celebrities just put a name on something,” she said.
While Barrymore isn’t sure what her filmmaking future holds, she is certain she will remain devoted to Flower. “I’m going to see, especially as a new mom, where my life is headed. It is an interesting precipice for me of how do I want to live the rest of my life. I know what I’ve done up until this point. If you look, I haven’t been working at the same pace recently because I’ve been doing it for 36 years. Your priorities continue to shift and change,” she said “All other things come and go. This is real right now. It really does have my time and focus.”