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Joining the Innovation Game: The Changed Nature of Private Label

By: Sara Mason
Posted: May 4, 2011, from the May 2011 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Perceptions of private label are changing and confidence is rising. The very nature of the private label industry has changed. As the industry evolves, private label manufacturers, marketers and retailers are all looking to capitalize.

Outside the Box

Even non-beauty product retailers have used private label as a launching pad into cosmetics and fragrance, though it’s not an easy transition for retailers not in the beauty biz. Retailers from Ann Taylor to Gap to Top Shop have attempted expanding into the cosmetics arena through private label, with varying success. But retailers are making the move, stepping outside their comfort zones to bring customers in their doors.

Payless ShoeSource, a U.S. retailer well-known for affordable footwear, announced an alliance with Maesa Group to create a collection of new beauty and body care products, available exclusively in 1,500 Payless ShoeSource stores, in autumn 2010. Payless launched with nearly 100 items from two collections: Unforgettable Moments and Zoe & Zac. The Payless Beauty collection includes signature fragrances, as well as color items for eyes, lips and nails.

The launch follows on the 2009 success in extending the retailer’s on-trend accessory offering in its stores, which now features a complementary accessory collection each season—including jewelry, hats and gloves and handbags. “Payless’ entry into beauty was a natural extension of the Payless accessory offering,” said Mardi Larson, Payless spokesperson. “We believe it’s the new fashion accessory, important to finishing off a women’s personal look.”

Maesa, a comprehensive turnkey service, has managed this new category for Payless from start to finish, with a dedicated team working very closely with Payless to analyze sales, develop the right product mix and be on trend.