Chances are you don’t recognize the four young women on the cover of this issue of WWD Beauty Biz. Yet. But take a good look. Their likelihood of hitting star status sometime in the not-too-distant future is high. Each was handpicked by Michelle Lee to represent her vision of beauty today. And though you may not recognize Lee’s name, either, as one of the preeminent casting directors in the style world (her clients include Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton, among others), she has the power and vision to determine who does—and doesn’t—personify modern-day ideals of beauty. Read about Lee and other elite casting directors, as well as our cover models, in “Golden Eye.”
This issue is devoted to Lee and others like her who significantly influence or alter the way we think about various aspects of the beauty business—in other words, the game changers. They include people like marketer Steve Stoute and hair care guru Frédéric Fekkai, two high-profile names who are shattering traditional retail channel boundaries in a bid to democratize distribution and follow the consumer wherever she may be. Whether they and others who are pursuing similar strategies will succeed remains to be seen, but as Stoute told me when reporting “Path Finders,” one thing is certain: “Channel distribution is breaking down. The lines are blurring.”
Carmen Bauza, vice president and divisional merchandise manager for beauty at Wal-Mart, is doing her part to erase distinctions. Though the mass behemoth already accounts for about one-third of most mass brands’ business, its ambitions are much more far reaching. Her vision is to combine the retailer’s value-driven traditions with a consumer-centric model that recognizes shoppers are willing to trade up, as well as across and down. “Customers were asking, ‘Why are you making me go to another store to buy prestige beauty when I’m already shopping in your store?’ ” Bauza recalls. The strategy she has developed to grow Wal-Mart’s beauty business, which she shares with us in “The Transformer,” is designed to answer it.
Our “Game Changers” package also includes a look at five pop culture icons who have the power to move markets, as well as the industry’s top chief executives answering the question, ‘How is the beauty game changing?’ Their answers might surprise you.
Finally, in August, WWD Beauty Biz will publish our annual list of the world’s 100 biggest beauty companies. If your company has not been included in the past, but might have a beauty business large enough for consideration (last year, the cutoff was approximately $110 million), please send an e-mail with basic company information to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include the parent company’s name, location, brands it manufactures and wholesale beauty sales for the 2009 calendar year. Please note that we do not count functional bar soaps, razors, toothpaste, food, medicine, vitamins or detergents as part of beauty volume. For any other inquiry, or feedback about the magazine, please e-mail me at email@example.com.