Beauty products have long been located at the center of the department store. Elaborate displays of glimmering containers piled high on shiny counters hold promise of a more beautiful person.
Now that beauty products have taken hold of the American consumer, luxe powders, shadows and creams are coming to the front door.
In the past few years, beauty products have been making their way into major catalogs, such as Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, Saks and Henri Bendel. Lower-end beauty suppliers have made their way into catalogs too. Cover Girl is currently targeting teens through the popular Alloy catalog.
After several years of offering high-end cosmetics in their books, both Neiman Marcus and Henri Bendel have spun off separate beauty product catalogs. Bendel launched in fall 1999 and Neiman Marcus in 2000.
Catalogs devoted solely to beauty include Aveda, which has its own stores/spas/salons and catalog, as well as distribution through other catalogs and major retailers, such as Yves Rocher, Mary Kay, Avon, T. Le Clerc and Dior. But new catalogs are popping up almost monthly. Blue Mercury, which has a catalog, stores and a Web site, carries such lines as Remede, Philip B. and Nars. On the smaller side are boutique catalogs including Pure, Home Recovery and Zitomer.
The most successful catalogs are conquering some important issues for women: confusion, convenience and distance. Zitomer, whose catalog was launched on the success of a 50-year-old New York City pharmacy, caters to those in need of advice. Orders are taken by telephone by a professional makeup consultant, who is there to handle questions.
All of the catalogs add to shopping convenience with home delivery.
Department stores have always been a major selling force of cosmetics. What is different about the inclusion of the line in catalogs is that in the past, cosmetic companies paid for their catalog pages; now they have their own print books.