Following a successful run of growing Korres into a North American beauty darling—one that lured the likes of parent Johnson & Johnson—Robert DeBaker has been tapped again as CEO to overhaul prestige cosmetics firm, Becca. Charged with transforming the estimated $10 million Australian makeup brand, Bob spoke with Beauty Insider about using his leadership know-how to perhaps make beauty magic happen twice.
Becca’s legacy: It’s a business that’s rooted in complexion with 40% of the brand’s sales in foundation. Our legacy is having a shade for everyone.
Clearing up a bad reputation: Becca launched in Bergdorf Goodman in November 2001; it was also sold in Sephora and Nordstrom. So, you ask, why is it not there anymore? Well, it’s because of the supply chain issues. Our industry is really driven by product junkies and marketers. There have been a lot of fantastic brands that have come out with the right feel and are really good products, but they don’t have the back end right, like operational efficiencies, inventory, managing cash flow. Jim MacPherson, the former CFO/COO of Carol’s Daughter, is the first person I hired to handle this aspect of the company.
Distribution plan: Our goal is to give access to prestige products in places that make sense. We won’t go mainstream; I don’t think that would be right for any prestige product. But take Duane Reade’s Look Boutique. There are women who go into a drugstore today and spend close to $100 on face care products. It might not a prestige brand but that’s a prestige price point. No one from color has made the leap to sell prestige in Look Boutique. So we’re there, in all of the boutiques.
Cutting the fat: We had 400 saleable products, an issue that presents an operational nightmare. So, we edited about 25% of the overall sku’s. In color, we created a Tint range (for those who want a light wash of color) and an Ultimate Color range (for those wanting rich pigment). We’re also creating an entire category of “accessory” items, which can augment a complexion and/or color item, for example, to add shimmer or sparkle. We’ll be launching 100 sku’s between May 2012 and August 2013.
Beefing up the prestige experience: I don’t think a lot of brands have invested a lot of time and resources to enrich the experience of engagement for the consumer beyond the product. We’re planning a digital game changer to improve at-counter engagement and evolve the brand experience. It will offer her how-to’s, tips, education and product information on her terms.