Stila’s Changing Approach (Part 1) – Where to buy Stila, Then and Now

by Valerie on August 12, 2008 · 2 comments

Stila is a fascinating story of indie to mainstream brand,yet keeping some indie undertones. Stila used to be what I call a semi-independent brand, founded in 1994 by Jeanine Lobell – in the late 1990s, it was sold to Estee Lauder, and by the early 2000s Jeanine Lobell had increasingly limited involvement with the day-to-day management of the brand. The brand really stayed semi-independent in that it was not mass produced or available everywhere. Then, in 2006, Estee Lauder sold Stila to a private equity firm which set as its goal to turn around the brand.

At the time of Estee Lauder selling the brand, I always shopped for Stila Bloomingdales in Soho or 59th street or, if I was in DC, at Nordstrom in Arlington, VA. There were also Stila counters at Saks and at Barneys in New York that sometimes got the new products before the other stores. Sometimes I would get Stila products at Sephora. But truthfully I preferred going to Stila counters because the makeup artists were incredibly knowledgeable about the brand and makeup techniques.

Looking back at 2006, I had been using the brand for going on five years and, from my perspective, the brand didn’t need turning around – the face products (foundation, tinted moisturizer, concealer, powder) were all very cost-effective considering the high quality, the eyeshadows were better quality than most high-end department store brands (very pigmented and buttery in texture, with generally no issues of dryness or large pieces of shimmer), and the color products lent themselves to creating fresh yet sophisticated looks.

Fast forward two years later, and so much has changed. The Saks New York Stila counter went away when they reorganized many of their cosmetics brand in late 2005. The Stila counter at Nordstroms in Arlington (and all Nordstroms) closed summer of 2006, as the new Stila strategy was getting put into place. And, as I mentioned a few days ago, the Bloomingdales Stila counters are gone as well.

To counterbalance all these counters closing, Stila now has a distribution strategy that really maximizes broad accessibility. It’s at every single Sephora and at many Ultas. Because Sephora partnered with JC Penney to open Sephoras in JC Penney stores, Stila is now sold at JC Penney stores. Furthermore, it’s available online in many places:, Skinstore,,, and JC (via a Sephora website within the JC Penney website).

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 H. August 12, 2008 at 8:21 pm

I’m really glad Stila is being distributed more widely, but I still miss seeing them as a department store counter. I remember buying my first Stila items at Nordstrom in 1999 and it makes me a little sad that now there are no dedicated counters, just regular displays.


2 City Girl August 16, 2008 at 9:49 pm

Hey H. — I have a second post coming soon on my feelings on all these changes. Stay tuned 😀


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