Stila’s Changing Approach (Part 2) – My thoughts on the new distribution strategy

by Valerie on August 16, 2008 · 1 comment

So, as I described, Stila is basically available everywhere in the U.S.. It’s mind-boggling – the number of Stila locations in their store locator has at least quintupled in two years, and that’s a conservative estimate. Closing the department store Stila counters has been completely counterbalanced in numbers by all the Sephora, Ulta and JC Penney/Sephora locations, especially considering that Sephora and Ulta are on expansion sprees. While there were many department store Stila counters, their number represent a handful (admittedly a large handful, but still only a handful) compared to all the new Stila retail locations.

As an individual Stila shopper, I miss the nice big Stila counters in department stores. I miss the makeup artists who were experts in the brand and their craft and who, if you were interested, would give lots of makeup advice (frankly, I got the equivalent of full length individual makeup lessons at no charge, and the quality of the instruction beat several pricy makeup classes out there). Spending an hour at those counters was an experience, not just a shopping trip.

BUT, as a long-time supporter of the brand, I have to admit that these distribution changes are the best thing that could have happened to Stila – not just in terms of increased revenues, but also in terms of the reach the brand now has. Now women across the country can see Stila products in person, try the testers and buy the products without guessing colors based on swatches on websites. And, if they want to buy from their computers after trying out the brand in the store, the fact that Stila is available at and means more discounts on the products, since both websites have semi-regular percentage off sales and other discounts.

So, while I miss the niche boutiquey semi-indy feeling of Stila, I have to admit that its widespread availability is a good thing. More people will get to enjoy the brand and the brand will therefore be more sustainable and around longer. Modern Atelier hit the nail on the head two years ago when she wrote “UD and Hard Candy got spun off from LVMH a few years ago, but if anything the brands presence is stronger due to it being pulled from places like Macy’s and distributed in Ulta” when discussing Estee selling Stila two years ago. It seems like that’s exactly what is happening to Stila.

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