The Total Store Expo, which wrapped up last month in Boston, is a cornucopia of every item sold in a modern drug store, from wine to lipstick. Produced by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, the show had an upbeat tempo this year with retailers noting a slight uptick in consumer interest in spending. Buyers used the event to find beauty companies or items they don’t see during headquarter visits. Here are what some retailers said were the show’s must-sees:
• A competitive edge: Fledgling brands were abundant on the exhibit floor, especially at Eddie Funkhouser where the company’s founder explained the edgy line that’s currently a star at certain Rite Aid doors. Seventeen years in the business, Eddie is now selectively expanding his distribution of 103-stock keeping unit color brands priced from between $8 to $30. “It’s a nice spot for pricing and I want to bring affordable quality to all,” he explained. A few other unique brands seen on the show floor were Clio, which has line of skin care for pregnant women called Mumsie; water-based nail polish from MBA Beauty dubbed Color Well; and MD Hair, a daily capsule supplement from a practicing physician Susan Lin to curb hair loss.
• Opportunities in accessories: The influx of salon and specialty products such as nail care and cosmetics into mass doors ushers in the need for more tools. Many of the products don’t come with applicators or they need brushes. In particular, there’s a push on brows, which require tools to achieve the right look. The companies with robust foot traffic included Swissco, Paris Presents and Pacific World. Appliances are still buzzing with retailers looking for this year’s version of Curl Secret.
• Nail Redux?: Recently, sales in nails color and nail care have been as unattractive as a chipped nail. Not to worry, said buyers, there’s growth in new technology nail color, improved home gel applications and nail care. A company delivering potential is Vitry from Paris, which offers nail treatments to help women recover from damaged nail issues. Sinful received applause for a color promotion with a cause, No Text Red, designed to halt texting while driving. The concept is to paint thumbs with red nail color to remind drivers not to text.
• The Power of Social Media: Up-and-coming beauty companies without a marketing budget said that’s no worry with today’s consumers. Tapping social media, including Twitter, YouTube, Instagram or company websites garners consumer attention giving them an even playing field with the “big guys.”