After discontinuing its line of lipsticks nearly five years ago, Estée Lauder beauty brand Origins is pushing back into cosmetics with its new Blooming Bold lipsticks and Blooming Sheer lip balms.
The new products launch today in Origins stores and at Origins.com, as well as at select retailers, like Macy’s, Dillard’s and Ulta. Origins, a 28-year-old beauty brand, is largely known for its skin care, but has a limited assortment of makeup, including an eight-shade anti-aging foundation range and some eye products, like its Fill in the Blanks brow pencil and Automagically eye-lining pencil – the latter two are among the brand’s bestsellers, according to the company.
Still, that small makeup lineup was driving loyalty for Origins. One out of every two customers that bought Origins cosmetics became a repeat purchaser, said Julie Van Ongevalle, Origins svp and global gm. With the launch of the Blooming Bold lipsticks and Blooming Sheer lip balms, Van Ongevalle expects to triple the Origins makeup business in the next three years.
Origins has been a fairly bright spot for Estée Lauder Companies, which reported a net sales increase of 16 percent for the company for the 2018 fiscal year. It called out the beauty brand as a key driver in the business’s skin-care net sales, along with Estée Lauder, La Mer and Clinique. Additionally, Origins ranked seventh in Tribe Dynamics’ earned media value report for March with $2.7 million in EMV, which is a 181 percent year-over-year increase. Origins EMV was also high in April with $2.3 million around the brand’s #GreenThePlanet social campaign.
Origins saw room for growth in makeup. In re-entering the category, it becomes the latest heritage brand to try to play in color. In August, Japanese beauty brand Shiseido stripped its existing makeup assortment from physical retail and e-commerce channels in exchange for a new color cosmetics assortment aimed at the millennial customer.
While the global beauty and cosmetics market was worth $465 billion in revenue in 2017, lipstick was only an $11 million piece of that, according to Euromonitor International. It is forecasted to grow to 13.7 million by 2020 – a 22 percent increase over the next four years.
Origins, too, is going after a younger customer, both millennials and Gen Z — the current age of its average consumer is 39 years old, though Van Ongevalle noted she’s as young as 29 years old in retailers like Sephora — however, the new lipsticks and lip balms won’t be sold in Sephora at launch. The brand did debut a cannabis-infused Hello, Calm mask in Sephora earlier this month, also targeted at millennials through the help of influencers, like Kay-Lani Martinez, with 1.4 million followers, and Yesenia Hipolito, who has 170,000 followers. Instead, the new collection will be sold in Ulta, which is a big player in attracting that younger customer for Origins, as digitally native, color-first brands like Kylie Cosmetics, Colour Pop and Morphe are sold there.
Most of all, Origins will be focusing on direct sales, using its first-ever U.S. pop-up in New York City’s Soho neighborhood to promote the launch. It opens to the the public today and Saturday.
Origins is the latest beauty brand to flex the pop-up lever, following brands like Shiseido, Nars, Chanel and YSL in the U.S. Unlike Shiseido and Nars’ installations, which were ticketed and didn’t sell product, Origins will be selling its Blooming Bold lipsticks and Blooming Sheer lip balms, as well as six other products, including its Checks & Balances cleanser, Clear Improvement charcoal mask and Dr. Weil Mega Mushroom treatment lotion, the brand’s No. 1 product globally, in the space.
Though Van Ongevalle admitted there seems to be pop-up mania happening among beauty brands, Origins’ New York experience is really an extension of its international pop-up strategy, she said. In the last year, the brand has done 20 pop-ups globally in key markets, like France, Taiwan and China. The Origins in Bloom pop-up, which will be promoted by lifestyle influencers, like Luanna Perez-Garreaud, who has 2.1 million followers, and Ian Michael Crumm, with 359,000 followers — though, not in a paid capacity — best replicates Origins’ China pop-up, which occurred in November 2017.
In partnership with Chinese actor Yang Yang and TMall, where Origins did not have a presence, the brand promoted its Mega Mushroom line to the tune of 1 billion impressions and 1 million visits to Tmall. Like the China pop-up, which included content creation opportunities, like an Instagram-friendly “rain room,” the Origins in Bloom installation will feature a lip test and play area, a lipstick and lip balm vending machine, and an infinity flower field, which is supposed to play back to the products’ ingredient story. (The lipsticks and lip balms were formulated with a blend of re-claimed flower waxes discarded from perfumeries.)
These pop-up content opportunities, which will be promoted on social with the hashtag #OriginsinBloom, will help grow the brand’s digital presence, as it has a relatively smaller fan base on Instagram (280,000 followers) compared to Estée Lauder’s 2.7 million fans.
“This is truly an opportunity for discovery in the U.S. across the entire brand, but especially with makeup, where we want to establish ourselves as a serious player,” said Van Ongevalle.