Serena Williams Adds Celebrity to Kohl’s Cosmetics

Aug 26, 2005
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Forget about Lauren, Versace, Chanel, etc. Today, when you want a beauty and fashion winner, you need Simpson, Diddy, Paris and, heck, even Mary Kate and Ashley.

While fashion designers may have been what drew shoppers to particular clothing or cosmetics in the past, today the name of the game is celebrity and retailers such as Kohl’s
have been quick to offer what consumers want.

The retailer has achieved success with its Candies’ line of juniors and girls clothing and accessories promoted by television, movie and recording star Hilary Duff.

In its most recent announcement, Kohl’s said it has signed tennis star Serena Williams to create a line of cosmetics under the new Flirt! Brand. The line will be available in
Kohl’s stores beginning in February 2006.

“I am a complete beauty junkie and being in the fashion business, I stay ahead of the trends,” Ms. Williams said in a released statement. “Now I am able to create makeup that
works with what is in style. Creating cosmetics allows me to be glamorous and adventurous plus show off my flirtatious side, a fun contrast to my life on the court.”

“Flirt! is a brand driven by pop culture,” said Jane Hudi, president of Flirt!. “Serena is the perfect personality to continue the buzz with a celebrity collection. She is fearless
on the court, dynamic and energetic, yet when she steps on the red carpet she is sexy, flirtatious and completely alluring.”

Moderator’s Comment: What is your take on the latest trend of celebrities promoting themselves as fashion and beauty product designers? What are the plusses
and minuses from a retailer’s perspective?

George Anderson – Moderator

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5 Comments on "Serena Williams Adds Celebrity to Kohl’s Cosmetics"

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Mark Lilien
15 years 6 months ago

Some celeb endorsements really help distribution and sales, if the celeb has enough credibility in that product area. There’s an excellent company that’s been measuring celebrity credibility for various consumer product manufacturers for years, sorted by age, gender, etc. See for details.

Cosmetic manufacturers and retailers can make plenty of money from an endorsement, even if the product’s life is only a few years. It all depends on the margins. If they are high enough, they cover the endorsement fees, ads, displays, packaging, and the disposal of the leftovers at the end of the life cycle.

Some CPM’s use endorsements without building the products around them. Pepsi used Michael Jackson very well, during his heyday. Some products are based on the celebrity. (Was Liz Taylor’s perfume called White Diamonds?) Either way, when the product slows down, the manufacturer just has to move on to the next celebrity.

Gene Hoffman
Gene Hoffman
15 years 6 months ago
What ever happened to Marie Dressler talcum powder? Or Billie Jean King’s pucker-power lipstick for partners? Or Patty Berg Slim Jim golf skirts? Or Bette Davis’ famous fumos? Time marches on and once-idolized celebrities do eventually fade away along with their highly-commercial trinkets. Okay, okay –King Elvis, Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe might possibly be current exceptions. We are a hero-worshipping, tight-skin culture. But we can be cynical too. Do we really believe Tiger Woods really drives a Buick? (Research shows the average age of Buick buyers is 62.) And what oil are we buying today just because that the guy who made golf real famous, Arnie Palmer, hawked it? There is an economic window of opportunity available to profile celebrities to be fashion and product trend-setters but that opportunity diminishes when wrinkles rain on our parade. Kudos to Kohl’s and Serena for capitalizing on the moment, but someday – millions of dollars from now – the Flirt will Flit. Meanwhile, I am expecting that cameo-like beauty, Maria Sharpova, with have her name on a… Read more »
Jeff Weitzman
Jeff Weitzman
15 years 6 months ago

Is this really a new trend? I seem to remember at least two of the ladies from Charlie’s Angels having their own lines like a hundred years ago. The celebrity fashion landscape may be more cluttered now, but I think that has more to do with celebrities being more attuned to corporate diversification and the fleeting nature of their fame than an increase in marketers’ interest in them. If Audrey Hepburn were a young ingénue today, she’d probably give Mary Kate and Ashley a run for their money in wealth creation.

Celebrity fashion is in nearly all cases a gimmick, though, tied to the rise and fall of the sponsor’s star. You can’t build a house on that foundation, but it has its place and its price point, and it has all sorts of advantages in instant brand recognition and marketing tactics.

Bernice Hurst
15 years 6 months ago

Hey ho, so the world turns. Don’t forget, customers age as well as celebrities so the people whose endorsements tempt them one day may be different to those who tempt them the next day. Cynics though some may be (moi???!!! heaven forbid), it ever more will be so. But just look at how Andi Mcdowell just goes on and on and on. You’ve got to have some celebrities to appeal to the teenagers as they reach so-called maturity.

Carol Spieckerman
15 years 6 months ago

Just as I was going to get cynical about star staying power, Jeff’s comments reminded me that t’aint necessarily so. Former angel Jaclyn Smith isn’t exactly setting the movie or music world on fire and she’s no ingénue, yet her brand at Kmart has remained one of the most successful star-powered private labels of all time.


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