Konglish Beauty

Rumours of Stila’s demise have been greatly exagerated

Posted in Offtopic, personal, Stila by konglishbeauty on September 28, 2009

A few months ago, the future looked bleak for Stila cosmetics. There was chatter all over Twitter that the brand was going into administration and was for the chopping block. Indeed, the website was down, the PR activity non-existent and customers waiting for orders were emailed to say that their orders might not be fulfilled. All the signs pointed to doom and gloom.

However a literal last minute reprieve came via Lynn Tilton of Patriarch Partners who swooped in and saved the brand, originally founded by Hollywood make-up artist to the red carpet Jeanine Lobell. Stila has had a bit of rocky history. It’s always been adorable and produced innovative and lust-worthy products from the LipGlaze lipgloss pens, to the make-up artist staple, Convertible cream cheek colours. It got loads of press and was one of the first brands to combine girly Eastern Kawaii values with whimsical luxury and make-up artist pro savvy. However it entered the market overpriced in comparison to its image and bounced in and out of retailers as sales fell once the new novelty factor wore off. Benefit suffered similar problems before it was bought out by LVMH. Hard Candy died a death (although it is soon to be revived albeit a shadow of its former self) and Urban Decay survived by the skin of its teeth and is growing slowly healthy again.

Estee Lauder bought Stila, all seemed good, Jeanine Lobell left to concentrate on being a mum and make-up artist again and things ticked along. Prices were lowered slightly and the brand expanded seemingly successfully globally. However, Estee Lauder soon drop-kicked the brand to Sun Captial Partners Inc who kept things ticking for a few years but with tough competition in a crowded market Stila didn’t thrive as it should have leading to the scare for make-up junkies last year.

Things seem good (from a consumer point of view anyway, I don’t know about the numbers) at the moment and Stila doesn’t seem to have suffered any consumer confidence. Make-up junkies are made of strong stuff and a financial scare doesn’t drive away customers. However, one of the announcements made at the time of Patriarch’s aquisition of the brand was that the brand was restructuring and pulling out of all international markets to concentrate on the USA for the time being. Boo hoo hoo.

I had just fallen back in love with Stila after a many year hiatus. In my previous job at a magazine, I tended to get make-up for free via PR companies and Stila had next to no-one looking after their PR so I overlooked the products for a long time as no news came my way in my busy schedule. After coming to Korea and having more spare time to indulge in hardcore cosmetics addction again, I started buying a few bits and pieces as my local department store carries a Stila counter with great make-up artists who pushed loads of great Stila-crack my way. Pinkiecharm on YouTube didn’t help with her raves either. Therefore I was rather sad to have my new found designer drug taken away so soon, especially as Stila seems to be selling rather well in Korea.

Well, almost 8 months later, there seems to be no sign of Stila leaving these shores. The counter’s still there, the girls on counter have heard no news about their jobs being in danger or the brand pulling out of Korea. Indeed I visited the newly expanded Hyundai department store in Shinchon a couple of weeks ago and there was a brand spanking new counter just opened in prime position in the new fashion make-up brands section on the ground floor. The great collections keep coming and I keep buying so for now all looks good. I shan’t lose sleep over Stila for the moment and I will go ahead and show you my new pretties from the latest collections which I have been salivating over.

I’ll hazard a delusional guess and say that Lynn Tilton and I are kindred spirits and she felt my misery and decided to leave be for the moment. Putting Stila aside, I’ve become intrigued by Ms Tilton and am rapidly becoming a fan of her style, and success. Any woman who can become a business leader whilst looking like a stripper obviously knows how to crush balls in the boardroom. Love her.


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