Richard Gallucci, senior vice president of sales, Kiss Products, Inc.
There is a post-COVID hangover that exists at a higher level in beauty than other categories. There is a misperception that what took place during COVID was a marketing event that will continue to drive sales, especially in the lash and nail categories, which grew with at-home use during the pandemic.
Two years later, while the industry has become somewhat saturated with competition, not all new brands are delivering on the promise of incrementality. The expansion in brand offerings has not impacted market share nor brought new consumers to these categories, as one would have expected to support all the new brands in the market.
If we have learned anything, we have learned that it’s hard to catch lightning in a bottle—the best and biggest companies in the world take 4-6 months or longer to bring a new product to market. It is also difficult to keep up with nail trends like those that blow up after Hailey Bieber walks out of the nail salon. In most cases by the time brands catch up to viral moments the trend is over.
Kiss’ consumer research indicates that one of the biggest barriers for entry into [artificial] nails and lashes is applying glue. Kiss has the solution with imPRESS Manicure & Falsies, no-glue nails and lashes, just press-on and go. Kiss’ strong innovation pipeline has more to keep consumers coming back to the brand they know and love with more exciting game changers for the categories we compete in.
Significant innovation takes time, and it takes research, experience and savviness. While there is always room for incremental competition that offers a real point of difference, retailers do not want to oversaturate categories with ‘me-too’ brands. In the future, we may see retailers creating more in-store ‘hot spots’ where brands can gain new distribution on a trial or promotional basis or even be available on dot com only.
Retailers will enjoy the most success sticking with brands consumers know and look for in stores that keep customers coming back with relevant marketing and new innovative products. KISS drives consumers into stores and is bringing new consumers to the beauty category year over year with new product launches in nail, lash and our emerging textured hair brand, Colors & Care.
To answer your question about if I had a crystal ball—my crystal ball says we must move past thinking that what happened during an unprecedented retail shut down is going to have relevance about what will happen moving forward and start really looking at what the consumer is asking for, work to anticipate trends, then deliver on that consumer proposition. We expect retailers will be leaning in with the brands that have provided the utmost support, innovation, and real partnership. These are the brands that have and will continue to deliver the most incremental results. Kiss will be one of those brands.