ULTA Beauty is #1. But What is Around the Corner???

Ulta Beauty is a thing of beauty. Both the company and the stock are exceeding everyone’s expectations. But like all beautiful things, they can wither from old age and neglect. Ulta Beauty’s strategy is on the edge of doing just that. Yes this sounds crazy, but read on.1st Body Image

It is management’s job to look forward and around the corner in order to set and adjust strategy. Let’s look around the proverbial corner.

Since their 1990 launch, Ulta maintains their force fields of differentiation:

  1. The combination of high/low merchandise price points.
  2. Full-service salons are in the back of every store.

NO COMPETITOR HAS BEEN ABLE TO COPY THESE DIFFERENTIATORS

Their financial position is equally astonishing. On October 25, 2007, Ulta Beauty (NASDAQ: ULTA) went public and opened at $18. Right now, the stock is about $350. If you are counting, that is over 18x your money. They are also completely debt free.


“The Ulta Beauty team delivered excellent results in the fourth quarter,” said CEO Mary Dillon. “This performance reflects an acceleration in comparable sales in our retail stores, primarily driven by traffic.”

Mary Dillon Ulta Beauty CEO
Mary Dillon, CEO ULTA Beauty

Ulta highlights their execution in (3) segments:

Product Sales

Beauty Services

Ecommerce

Press releases reveal the reality of these (3) initiatives. Brick and Mortar Retail product sales dominate at 83% of revenue. Ecommerce is only 11% and only recently have they signed on with cutting edge digital partners. The Salon segment of their revenue is a mere 5% of their massive $6.2B in revenue, and they project the salon growth at only 3%. Remember the salon is a sustainable competitive advantage. At only 3% growth, it functions more as a cost center than a profit center.

The Salon projected at only 3% growth is more a cost center than a profit driver

Further analysis reveals more. The bulk of their spend and focus on execution is actually on building new stores. They plan about 80 new locations this year. That’s it-this is the grand total of their execution.

Is this enough??? 

To recap- Ulta is a $6.2B company, debt free and the largest retailer of its kind-and their biggest growth driver is new stores in strip malls across suburban America.

Again, the question can be asked- is this enough? Is it enough to maintain the #1 status they have enjoyed for so long? Or does doing the same thing they have always done threaten their competitive advantage? Are they doing enough for shareholders, consumers and for the brands they sell?

To their credit, there has been a recent sizable coup and significant activity by signing Kylie Jenner and launching Cannuka, a CBD skincare brand.

Stakeholders and Shareholders are first with public companies
Stakeholders- Is Ulta doing enough for them?

Yet,it can be argued that despite their incredible stock performance, Ulta may not be delivering enough value to shareholders. Seems they have much more capacity to comfortably do more- much, much more.

Ulta has only 1 strategic comfort zone. Building new stores.

They basically have only 1 revenue and profit source. Selling product.

Compare this to the competition: Sephora is a part of luxury behemoth LVMH and they benefit from an internal capital market. Department stores also sell fashion goods. Digital only players are proving to not even need a brick and mortar environment.

Ulta’s very narrow growth strategy of opening new US stores is very capital intensive. Their narrow revenue model makes them very vulnerable. The competition is outspending them on digitization. Unless they become more expansionist, Ulta’s competitive edges will be dulled. They will find themselves in a financial cul-de-sac with a lot of physical stores, but no liquidity for new investment opportunities.

What are Ulta’s strategic options? What more could they be doing?

The Answers

Create additional revenue and profit streams

  1. Form an internal business acquisition team- “The A Team”.
  2. Hire a leading global consultant firm to work with The A Team.
  3. Ready corporate culture for global expansion.
  4. Generate meaningful ROI from The Salon assets.
  5. Enter into additional exclusive brand distribution agreements.
  6. Invest heavily into enterprise IoT.

Compared to their formidable capacity, Ulta can do so much more for their stakeholders. The 3 Levers described here just scratch the surface. What do you think? What else could Ulta do?

††

Madison Luxe Group is an innovative beauty, fashion and lifestyle luxury brand retail sales distributor and marketing consulting agency founder Christine C. Oddo and Madison Luxe Group
Christine C. Oddo founder Madison Luxe Group, author The Christine Report Blog

Do You Drop? Luxury Players Now Join In On These Exclusive Product Promotions

Do You Plan on Using Drops for Your Product Promotions?  Luxury players are really getting in on this channel.  Check here how to keep drops fresh- and out of the hands of those that engage just to over-buy and resell precious limited edition merchandise.

It started with online flash sales.  That was easy.  It was electronic.  Promote the heck out of it and add a count-down clock with some limited inventory and –whammo– an e-commerce retailer had a fantastic limited time offer event.  It created a sense of urgency while offering scarcity.

Barney everybody cheering
Attended @Barneys The Drop LA Turnout  and Enthusiasm Was Impressive! 

But wait.  Brands also wanted to offer buzz and control their messaging.  Niche cult fave Supreme keeps its anticipation way high among fans with an entire strategy based on drops.

“In many ways, if you think about it, drops operate on the same principle as does home shopping or bidding on Ebay.  These are all timed events and once product is gone or the promotion is over thats it. ”                                       says The Christine Report

Change has arrived.  The luxury players with mainstream availability are now getting in.  Moncler, the must-have luxe winter outerwear brand describes a recent concept for their Drop called the “Genius Project”.   Its as much a drop as it is an art installation.

Moncler Genius Project Installation
Moncler Drop as Art Installation courtesy @Moncler

Luciano Santel, executive director of Moncler explains their approach: “The amount of business we plan to develop under the Genius Project is not particularly significant as compared to the rest of our business,” Santel said. “But…strategically, from the brand, from the communication point of view, from the design, from the product, it is an extremely important project.” 

Burberry also recently announced they are also engaging in drops.  The changes mark “the beginning of a new way of conversing with our customers across product, communication and experience,” says a brand spokesperson……

Drops, as cool as they are, have two major challenges.

adult-beautiful-clothes-291762

Just as technology has enabled brick and mortar to leverage the promotion of their drop, it also inevitably produces the dark side.  Those with the tech know-how unleash bots to scoop up excess merchandise beyond the normal capacity of a single consumer.  Then, that merchandise gets resold online for many, many times over the original price.

Defeating the bots created extra promotional opportunities for Nike.  They developed additional human interaction requirements via gamification.  In recent coverage by Draper’s Online, they described the successful drop for the SB Dunk Hi Momofuku sneaker in collaboration with restaurateur David Chang.  Participants had to locate multiple Nike posters placed around NYC that featured 3D capabilities.  Via their smartphone, up popped a full interactive model of the shoe which then they could go on and purchase.

David Chang
David Chang with Nike’s SB Dunk Hi Momofuku courtesy @Nike

 

Secondly, Don’t Create Drop Dreary Consumers.

belt-belts-business-1023937
Don’t Over Saturate With Too Many Drops or Too Much Sameness

 

 

Too many drop events can create a level of over-saturation and remove the interest.  As in Moncler, keeping the edge on creativity is key.  The gamification of drops and other more sophisticated engagements will also come into play with more interesting technology applications.  Luxury brands are also increasing the exclusivity factor. For example, Louis Vuitton is doing drops with little to no promotion and keeping it extremely fresh- as word only gets out the old fashioned way- peer to peer and mouth to mouth.

Every brand will have to evaluate for themselves the value of drops, can they manage them properly and will the sales enhance relationships with their customer or just cannibalize them?  Keep the drops real, but also keep them away from the bots!

Trophy Clothes

Luxe, Chic, Fab, Amazing, OMG, Style.  Love it, want it all, bring it, please.  Fashion’s finest unite achieving uber-levels of fashion excellence.  Its much more than the usual over-the-top-look-at-me outfit.  These are pieces are living museum installations that declare a whole new space of existence.

These last couple of seasons definitely are different.  We have reached a new fashion pinnacle.

I call it “Trophy Clothes”

Unquestionably, the tipping point hit us via the amazing Alessandro Michele at Gucci.

Alessandro Michele @WMagazine
Alessandro Michele @WMagazine

 Marco Bizzarri, the newly installed president with the insightful gusto in hiring Michele says, “I thought, Why should I look for someone else when he can translate the heritage—and when the values of Gucci are in his veins?”

It took a couple of seasons for some and years for others, but make no mistake, we are now deep in trophy territory.  How do you know trophy clothes when you see them?  ask yourself these key questions and see where they take you-in your imagination as well as in your closet.

Is it an accessory that is an absolute visual festival of delight? For me that means at least 3 differing elements keeping the mind and eyes entranced.  Many of this season’s Louis Vuitton bags are spot on.

Vuitton Pochette Kabuki $2,650
Vuitton Pochette Kabuki $2,650

OK, I know bags have been trophies for years now, so let’s look at some other pieces.  Dolce & Gabbana is another Trophy standard and they are extremely good at it by pulling off some of the most adorned, ruffled, printed and embellished pieces yet.

Dolce and Gabbana Ruffled Silk Embellished Jumpsuit
Dolce & Gabbana Majolica Ruffled Silk Embellished Jumpsuit $4,195

Versace has turned the simplest concept of the team t-shirt and transformed it into a live decal for the Trophy Movement.

Versace Logo Team T Shirt
Versace Logo Team T-Shirt $750

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beauty is full-in as well.  Done right, it can be a fantastical compliment to the whole look.

Guy Tang Hair
@Guy_Tang on Instagram Featuring Rainbow Bayalage

Back to Gucci.  The logos!  It’s at a whole new level.  Nothing like the “Logo-Mania” eras of the past.  Trophy Logos.  Enough said.  Pulling together this mixed-media maximist look is the epitome.

Gucci Trophy Logos

 

Michele from Gucci sums it this way, “The way you dress is really the way you feel, the way you live, what you read, your choices. That’s what I want to put into Gucci.”

Do you want to feel like a trophy this season?  Go for it, that options are aplenty.

 

headshot-from-christmas Author Christine C. Oddo

 

 

Chloe Resort 2019 Is Killing Me Yaaaas!

Chloe Resort 2019 is BEYOND.  So wearable and the construction looks super-cut in all the right places.  Suddenly I must go out and get my socks to wear with some strappy sandals.  Perfect for a changing season or out on a get away.

Thanks to @Vogue for publishing the look book and to @Chloe for an amazing show.

Chloe Pants Cruise 2019
These pants have all the right moves with just enough swish.  Shirt print an awesome Chloe legacy archival throw back. 

Chloe Mixed Prints Cruise 2019
Mixed prints just keep getting better. So easy on the eyes and so clever at the same time.

Chloe Cruise 2019 High Low Skirt
A personal fave.  Always need something for work that goes the step beyond yet stays within range. Love.

Global HAPPI Conference and Cosmetic Ingredients Conference Headlines ROOT OF SKIN Skincare Scientists As Keynote Speakers

AIVITA Biomedical Scientists Invited to Deliver Keynote Address at HAPPI Anti-Aging Conference

IRVINE, Calif. – March 21, 2018 – AIVITA Biomedical, a global biotech wellness company specializing in novel stem cell applications, announced today the appointment of its two senior scientists as keynote speakers at the HAPPI Anti-Aging Conference. Chief Science Officer Gabriel Nistor, M.D. and Vice President of Research and Development Aleksandra J. Poole, Ph.D. will deliver a keynote speech titled Biotechnology-derived Active Ingredients for Anti-Aging Cosmetics at the conference taking place May 15-16 at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City.

Javits Graphic

HAPPI is the leading media outlet in the global personal care and household product market. HAPPI’s Anti-Aging Conference will give formulators and their suppliers an opportunity to learn, interact and discuss all things related to anti-aging with industry professionals. The conference will feature breakthrough technology, novel raw materials, regulatory insights and market research involving the multibillion-dollar anti-aging industry.

 In January Dr. Nistor and Dr. Poole introduced to consumers an all-new actives complex which utilizes the natural signaling methods and ingredients of skin stem cells to achieve more youthful-looking skin. The breakthrough active is available in the Company’s  ROOT OF SKIN™ product line.

“We’re grateful for the invitation and look forward to sharing some truly exciting innovations with the attendees,” said Dr. Nistor. “We hope our focus on providing proper nutriments to achieve results is a welcome shift from current, more damaging approaches.”

Dr. Hans Keirstead, CEO AIVITA Biomedical, will also appear on a promotional podcast with host Tom Branna in advance of the show, which will be made available on their website at http://www.happi.com and www.rootofskin.com

Hans For Beauty Independent
           Dr. Hans Keirstead                    CEO AIVITA Biomedical

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Will Somebody Please Just Tell Me Why My Moisturizers Don’t Work???

In a recent interview with Dr. Gabriel Nistor, Chief Science Officer, AIVITA Biomedical and ROOT OF SKIN skin care brand, I asked him to explain why moisturizers sometimes do not seem to work? Following is his scientifically based reason why it seems that many moisturizers don’t always help us we we want them to.

 

When we were young our skin had all the moisture it needed. There was no need for moisturizing products, our skin had all the natural oils and protective layers necessary to keep our skin hydrated, soft, and smooth. As we age, this can change, with many of us finding it unthinkable to leave the house without first applying a moisturizer.

But did you know that you can end up in a vicious cycle of dependency by overusing moisturizers? Many moisturizers available today make your skin feel well-hydrated when applied but can make your skin look worse in the long run.

Let me share with you why your moisturizer doesn’t work.

Healthy skin has a natural waterproof layer that should be self-sufficient in protecting against water loss. However, through natural aging and other factors this natural barrier becomes less effective over time, allowing moisture to easily slip out of the skin’s upper layer. This is known as Trans-Epidermal Water Loss, or TEWL for short. Many moisturizers work by applying waxy or oily ingredients to your skin to prevent this water loss.

This is where the viscious cycle begins. The waxes and oils added in many moisturizers to reduce TEWL can cause a build-up on the surface of the skin. This unwanted build-up can also disrupt sweat and sebum glands, natural moisture regulators, or cause inflammation. It can even cause enough build-up so that the skin appears flaky and bumpy.

Some products also contain detergent-based ingredients to provide a silky feeling. These ingredients can strip the skin of its lipids when removed, essential components which maintain the strength of the skin’s protective barrier. This gets to the heart of the reasons as to why your moisturizer doesn’t work.

“Did you know that our natural cycle of cellular turn-over, where fresh clean cells replace the dead and dirty ones, is reduced by half by the time we are 30?”

Dr. Gabriel Nistor  Gabe Headshot

This is where the viscious cycle starts.  The moisturizer you are using to help your skin may actually be causing inflammation, build-up, unevenness and can even also strip away the moisturization you are trying so hard to get back!

Viscious Cycle

For true rejuvenation, skin needs a “vacation” from the heavy waxes, oils, detergents and toxic components that can disrupt its natural moisture regulating capabilities. To restore its vibrancy and youthful appearance a product is needed which supports healthy skin nutrition and does not disrupt its natural function. Check product labels for ingredients and try to carefully observe your skin as it responds to a moisturizer.  Careful observations will tell you what is working, what isn’t, and help you break the        viscious cycle.

Questions?  Comments? Please feel free to email me at rootofskin@gmail.com.

www.rootofskin.com  www.aivitabiomedical.com

Thank you!

Madison Luxe Group is an innovative beauty, fashion and lifestyle luxury brand retail sales distributor and marketing consulting agency founder Christine C. Oddo and Madison Luxe Group
Christine C. Oddo founder Madison Luxe Group, author The Christine Report Blog christine@madisonluxegroup.com

ROOT OF SKIN- A Whole New Technology In Skin Care

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AIVITA Biomedical™ is a global bio-tech wellness company specializing in novel stem cell applications.  While researching new cures for cancer, we realized the opportunity for a new class of ingredients and from this discovery, the formula for our topical skin care brand, ROOT OF SKIN™, was created.  Our actives complex, SourceCode Technology™, is patent-pending and the most pure stem cell extract ever created.  Our complex does not contain any actual stem cells or debris.  It contains the 670 naturally present precursors for human skin development and is combined with 52 nourishing active ingredients.  See our founder, Dr. Hans Keirstead briefly explain our company and technology!

We are a mission based company and all of the proceeds are rolled back into the company supporting our ongoing cancer therapy research.

Completely gender inclusive, our formula is made for both women and men!

 

 

Cropped Version Front of Package ROS for Women and Men

 

 

 

 

Stem Cell Scientist Hans Keirstead Battles Crow’s Feet And Vies For A Congressional Seat

ROOT OF SKIN Brand Launching This Month!  Check Our 1st Press Piece From The Wonderful Beauty Independent Site and Daily Newsletter. By Rachel Brown.

Hans Keirstead is campaigning for good looks and good government: the first with new skincare brand Root of Skin and the second with a congressional run.

An outgrowth of AiVita Biomedical, the brand is launching after four years of stem cell exploration to help finance the clinical research company’s efforts to develop cancer therapies. Priced from $48 to $57, its three debut products are the 1-oz. Revitalizing Face Serum, .5-oz. Revitalizing Eye Renewal Lotion and 1-oz. Revitalizing Tinted Renew Primer. Formulas rely on the so-called SourceCode Technology combining a cellular communication system with 52 skin-enhancing ingredients.

ROS PRODUCT For Beauty Independent

“The vast majority of skincare on the market is versions of fillers, hydrators and light reflectors. I decided to take an entirely different approach,” says Keirstead. “As a pioneer of the stem cell field, I recognized that all of the stem cell skincare products were marketing ploys rather than reality. We have generated a product that’s a true innovation. Try this stuff. You’ll see the effect.”

As a scientist and biotech entrepreneur, Keirstead is more familiar with a laboratory than skincare marketing. Prior to founding AiVita Biomedical, he was a professor at the UC Irvine School of Medicine and sold the company California Stem Cell for $126 million.

Explaining Root of Skin, Keirstead gets rather technical. He shares, “We took human stem cells and pushed them to become pure populations of human skin precursors. My team is the best in the world at generating pure populations of stem cells. We generate populations that are 99% pure, the next best are 70% pure. That’s a big deal because, if you are generating something that’s 70% pure, you have to ask yourself, what is the other 30%?” He stresses, “We are not adding anything life doesn’t create naturally.”

Root of Skin is far from the only skincare offshoot of a biotech company. The brand Algenist was founded as part of TerraVia, which used to be named Solazyme, and its fellow Sephora offering Biossance is a branch of Amyris. Beauty businesses offer these companies the promise of short-term returns as they chase scientific breakthroughs taking longer to materialize.

Cool Chick For Beauty Independent

“If I make more money than I burn, then I don’t have to raise money,” reasons Keirstead. “The skincare product is projected to generate far more money than I require to run my clinical trials. That’s tens of millions of dollars. Skincare products are very widely used and are high revenue generators, and we are pouring that money back into treating women with cancer.”

To improve its chances in the beauty segment, privately-held AiVita been amassing skincare expertise through a scientific advisory board that includes Michael Gold, Mary Lupo and Zoe Draelos. The company also hired Christine Oddo, formerly of Cristophe Products Inc. and the defunct Kardashian beauty brand PerfectSkin, as chief marketing officer.

Aimed at both men and women, the unscented Root of Skin products will initially be sold online. Medical offices are also potential points of distribution. AiVita has produced a professional edition of Root of Skin that’s pricier than the general retail line and amplifies the active components in the formulas.

AiVita’s skincare business doesn’t rest solely on Root of Skin. The company is promoting its active ingredients broadly to companies for applications in their skincare products. Keirstead divulges AiVita has been in discussions with nine skincare firms considering harnessing the ingredients.

ROS PRODUCT For Beauty Independent

Meanwhile, the budding beauty executive is challenging 18-term Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a strong supporter of President Trump who has been under scrutiny for close ties to Russia, to represent the 48th district that stretches along the Southern California coastline in Orange County. Keirstead, originally from Canada, argues the time he’s spent in the trenches of scientific discovery and policy gives him an understanding few members of Congress have of healthcare in this country.

“We need field experience in Congress. The vast majority of congressmen are lawyers. The deficits in our society are a direct result of that lack of field experience,” he says, continuing, “Our healthcare system quite frankly is a mess, and I intended to fix that. My mission is to facilitate the development of 1,000 companies like mine and to better everyone’s healthcare. Right now, I’m working on cancer, but I would like to facilitate treatments for multiple human diseases.”

 

headshot-from-christmasChristine C. Oddo is the Chief Marketing Officer for ROOT OF SKIN™ cosmetic and skin care products, author of The Christine Report blog and founder of               Madison Luxe Group; a beauty and luxury product retail sales and digital strategy agency.

Inquiries to christine@madisonluxegroup.com

 

Launching 1st Truly Gender-Inclusive Clinical Skin Care

Reporting the upcoming October 2017 launch of a clinically based and incredibly exclusive skin care formula.
It is INTENTIONALLY designed for equal & effective use for both MEN & WOMEN.

“As the new Chief Marketing Officer of this amazing new brand,

I am so pleased with the opportunity to be able to share aFront Panel Showing For Men and Women

truly gender inclusive and effective skin care product.”

Christine C. Oddo
CMO, ROOT of Skin
Our new brand is named

ROOT OF Skin

ROS Logo

Gang Rendering

The product was researched and developed in our private medical grade research facility. We also manufacture the core active ingredient complex-
SourceCode Technology
and it is only available exclusively within our product.
Expect new product applications coming soon in 2018!

RootSkin_RFRSerum