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Sweet Tarte: Taking Inside-Out Beauty to Heart

By: Karen A. Newman
Posted: August 26, 2008, from the October 2007 issue of GCI Magazine.

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And tarte products seem to be resonating with customers. “We’re sort of in our own little sphere, with the cool products now combined with naturals,” says DiResta. “What Stella McCartney did for skin care, we’re doing for makeup.”

DiResta believes the Inside Out vitamin-infused lipgloss was the first product that helped customers connect with the “skinvigorating beauty” message. “We got a tremendous positive response on our Web site,” she said, “and ultimately, the proof is in the pudding—the sales on the lipgloss were and continue to be fantastic. Our customers are giving us great feedback.”

Instant Feedback

Much of tarte’s customer feedback comes through its Web site. Kelly believes the Internet levels the playing field by helping brands reach customers outside normal distribution channels. It helps tarte to gain valuable instant feedback about its products while providing a platform for educating customers about brand initiatives.

DiResta is less restrained in her appraisal: “The impact of the Internet has been colossal. It basically seeps into nearly every area of business and culture these days.” She points out the sheer volume of online information available to businesses and customers alike, making it difficult to know where to begin. A key development is the growth of a whole new way to comparison shop. It requires that companies step up their e-tailing game, says DiResta, adding promotions and features to build brand loyalty.

Beyond Web sites are blogs, Web communities, Wikipedia and more, putting all kinds of information at consumers’ fingertips. “Depending on where they’re finding their information, this translates to either a more educated or a more confused consumer,” says DiResta. “So beauty companies have a responsibility to tell the product story they want to tell on their own Web sites and in their retail merchandising.”