Tag Archives: Skincare products

A milestone for Mary Kay

U.S. cosmetics company Mary Kay Inc. is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year – and its 35th year in Canada – and the alternative distribution model that the company launched half a century ago shows no signs of going away.

Mary Kay 50The beauty brand has a unique retail model, with its products available exclusively through its network of beauty consultants, rather than online or in stores.

Although this strategy strikes me as one that would limit the brand’s scope of potential customers – since many people likely more comfortable buying products in stores rather than through a catalogue – it clearly hasn’t hampered Mary Kay’s success.

In total, the company has 2.5 million beauty consultants and $3 billion in global annual sales. That seems like a large enough scope, to me.

Having personally ordered products through a beauty consultant in the past, I can see why the model works. By buying products through a consultant, consumers immediately associate the brand with a friendly face and a personalized experience.

The scope of the interaction goes much farther than a typical interaction with a sales associate in a store. Mary Kay consultants form relationships with their clients, making individual product recommendations based on each client’s age, skin type and personal taste.

And, they keep in regular contact via phone, email and mail-out catalogues. For example, my Mary Kay consultant often gives me a call right around the time she suspects my last purchase is running out, and sure enough, I’m usually ready to order a refill.

Some other retailers have pretty savvy email campaigns and customer service initiatives, but nothing quite compares to a personal phone call from someone you’ve gotten to know.

Clearly, the beauty brand has found a model that still seems to be working 50 years later.

Special-Edition Beauty That Counts® Mary Kay NouriShine Plus Lip Gloss, $18

Special-Edition Beauty That Counts Mary Kay NouriShine Plus Lip Gloss, $18

The company also keeps customers coming back by continuously revamping its product lineup. In total, it offers more than 200 products, including a men’s skin care and fragrance line that launched a couple years ago.

In celebration of Mary Kay’s 50th year, it has launched a special edition lip gloss in a shimmery colour called, fittingly, ‘Celebrate’. And, $1 from the sale of each lip gloss will be donated to the Mary Kay Ash Charitable Foundation, in support of its efforts to assist women living with the appearance-related side effects of cancer and its treatments as well as those affected by domestic violence.

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Insights from an ecoholic

Midtown boutique Consonant Skincare hosted a special event this week in celebration of a theme central to the store’s philosophy: healthy, natural and earth-friendly living.

Adria Vasil, author of several green-living books, was at Consonant promoting her latest book, Ecoholic Body: Your Ultimate Earth-Friendly Guide to Living Healthy and Looking Good.

Vasil discussed themes from the book, among them: natural products to embrace and not-so-natural ones to avoid; potentially harmful ingredients to watch for in toothpastes, lotions and other products (parabens and sodium laureth sulfate, to name a couple); and tips for maintaining healthy, glowing skin (for instance, don’t party like a rockstar, Vasil said – or at least not on too regular a basis).

Consonant’s new flagship store on Yonge Street (featured on Retail Realm in October 2011) was a very appropriate setting for this discussion, given all the natural products that line the shop’s walls. The company specializes in organic skin care products such as soaps, moisturizers and eye creams, all of which are free of the very ingredients Vasil urges consumers to avoid.

Although the boutique is small – and feels especially so when it’s filled with mingling shoppers on a hot summer’s day – the bright, modern space showcases Consonant’s products perfectly, and attentive staff make the shopping experience easy.

A cocktail reception and a book-signing by Vasil rounded off the event, along with a rare opportunity to snag Consonant’s merchandise at a discount.

Kudos to Vasil for taking the time to educate consumers on strategies for embracing a healthier and more natural day-to-day lifestyle. Although my own personal beauty regime may not be organic and paraben-free, I left the event with new ideas on how to scale back the toxins I’m exposed to, and I’m sure others did, too.

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Consonant uses natural ingredients for growth

Toronto shoppers have a new go-to destination for natural skincare products.

Consonant Skincare has launched its first Canadian store at 2479 Yonge St. – a few blocks north of Eglinton.

The company is known for its all-natural skincare products. Most items are completely vegan and organic, and they’re all made in Canada. They aim to make your skin look firmer, healthier and younger – without the use of synthetic ingredients.

Ultra Moisturizing Organic Face Cream, $54.

Toronto shoppers would recognize the company’s products from such stores as the Outer Layer’s locations on Bloor Street and Queen Street, Pistachio, the Bay, Sears, and various health food stores.

Now, Consonant’s entire product line will be available under one roof at the flagship store.

The collection will include three new products that the company is launching this fall:

1. Ultra Moisturizing Organic Face Cream for Dry Skin ($54)
2. Manacouagen Marine Clay Facial Cleansing & Exfoliating Bar ($18)
3. Antioxidant Superhero Serum ($63), which helps protect and rebuild collagen, smoothes lines and wrinkles, and evens skin tones.

And the store will offer more than just products. Two-hour in-store educational seminars will regularly be held at the boutique. For a fee of $99 each, attendees will receive refreshments, an $80 gift card upon completion, and a take-home package full of information and tips from skincare experts.

Upcoming topics include:
• Skincare for Yummy Mummies – Friday, November 16, 2011
• Healthy Aging – Wednesday, November 23, 2011
• Skincare 101 for Teens and Young Adults – Wednesday, November 30, 2011

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Retail Realm on the Road: Greece

Apologies for the hiatus of posts, but recent travels abroad have left me with limited access to Internet.

I’m quickly catching up on the latest retail news here in Toronto, but in the meantime, I’ve compiled some fun facts about the shopping scene in my latest travel destination: Greece.

Top three items to buy in Greece:

One of Athens' many shoe stores.

1. SHOES. Boutiques selling shoes, sandals and flip-flops are everywhere in this country, and each shop seems to be overflowing with as many pairs as is physically possible for it to carry. It’s a great opportunity to pick up styles you won’t find here in Canada, and the prices are generally very reasonable.

2. Jewellery. Wherever you are in Greece, you won’t have to travel far to find a jewellery boutique. Many boast hand-made pieces featuring distinct Ancient Greek designs, such as the meander, the spiral, and the ‘mati’ evil eye design, which is believed to protect you from evil spirits.

3. Soaps and lotions. The abundance of olive oil in the Mediterranean region had led to a wide array of oil-based soaps and skincare products that moisturize and gently cleanse your skin, without the artificial colours and additives found in too many products on the market today.

Other tips:

Ermou Street, Athens.

> If you’re looking for familiar shops such as H&M, Mango, Sephora and Esprit, swing by Ermou Street in Athens. Sure, you can visit these shops anytime here in Canada, but sometimes their selection merchandise varies between countries, so you may be able to find something unique.

> When shopping for souvenirs, bargain! Not all shopkeepers are flexible on price, but many are, so it’s worth trying to negotiate a lower price. If you’re friendly and you chat with them for a few minutes, you’ll be surprised how often they’ll offer you a “special price.”

Wherever your travels bring you this summer, happy shopping! Have a safe and enjoyable summer.

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