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The Latest Wrinkles in Skin Care

Panel speakers at CEW's recent Skin Care Beauty Series, from left, Terry Darland, general manager, Christian Dior Parfums North America; Karen Grant, senior industry analyst, beauty, The NPD Group, Inc.; and Caroline Pieper-Vogt, senior vice president, marketing, Clarins USA.

By: Nancy Jeffries
Posted: February 28, 2007
On February 22, at New York’s Harmonie Club, the latest installment of CEW’s Beauty Series addressed skin care, antiaging and the ever-popular quest for the latest innovation. Terry Darland, general manager, Christian Dior Parfums North America; Karen Grant, senior industry analyst, beauty, The NPD Group, Inc.; and Caroline Pieper-Vogt, senior vice president, marketing, Clarins USA, joined a panel moderated by Jenny Fine, WWD BeautyBiz, to share their experiences and insights.

Darland, who began her career in 1978 with Clinique—the beginning of a 24-year tenure with The Estée Lauder Companies—spoke of her current position with Dior and the company’s success in the skin care arena. “Skin care has done very well, with increases up 21%,” she said, citing a great R&D department and distribution structure. Pieper-Vogt noted a two-year hiatus from Clarins, during which time she worked with Prada. She began her career as an Estée Lauder counter manager at A&S in Manhasset, New York, before joining Chanel and later, Lancôme. She described a well-rounded path to management. Karen Grant’s career began at Cartier, followed by Paloma Picasso.

“We have seen a hit to the skin care business; we’ve seen fragmentation,” said Grant. “Products under $70 are declining and products above $70 are doubling. As an industry, we began marketing on efficacy, and we’ve taught editors to itemize and measure prestige products against mass market.” Grant added that it is now necessary to work with retailers to change this mindset.

“The changes in consumer cross-channel shopping habits have put pressure on the prestige segment, but (prestige marketers) still own the field in breakthrough research and packaging innovation,” said attendee Laureen Schroeder, director of skin care, Idelle Management (which handles Skinmilk, Seabreeze, Vitapointe and Brut). “Both consumers and mass skin care marketers alike carefully watch the prestige segment for the latest in technology.”

Darland cited the importance of giving the best antioxidants in Dior’s channel of distribution, while Pieper-Vogt emphasized Clarins’ involvement in therapeutic skin care, stating, “It’s almost as if beauty is health and health is beauty.” Ultimately, cited Pieper-Vogt, the marriage of nature and high technology, as well as the aspect of service, are key factors for Clarins. Darland said that one of Dior’s strengths is to combine marketing and education to ultimately create sustainable products—noting that when all is said and done, the product must perform.