By Virginia Muzik
 
In true, exuberant American style, at 10am, as a PA announcement officially opened Day One of Cosmoprof North America 2008, at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, Las Vegas, enthusiastic “whoops” and cheers erupted on the exhibition floor.
 
At the morning’s press conference, Eric Z. Horn, Director – Cosmoprof North America of industry body The Professional Beauty Association (PBA), began with some encouraging statistics, stating the event had seen a 10 per cent increase in sales of exhibition floor space (total net floor space was 16,500 square metres), with 740 companies exhibiting this year, up from 700 in 2007. Of these, 362 were brand new companies. Visitor attendance was over 25,000.
 
International Relations Director for Sogecos Italy, Laura Zaccagnini talked about the Discover Beauty program, now in its second year. This year’s event was in conjunction with the Las Vegas Spa Association (LVSA) and facilitated one-on-one meetings between brands and buyers. Three Australian brands included pharmacy skincare brand Dr. Le Winn’s Private Formula, natural makeup range Claytime Australia and men’s skincare brand, Vitaman. Zaccagnini singled out Austrade and The Australian Government with thanks for its financial and resources support in bringing Australian products to Cosmoprof.
 
Also from Sogecos Italy, Aureliana De Sanctis unveiled Cosmoprof’s new image: its new-look logo and advertising campaign for 2009, which has the slogan, "Where are you going, beauty?" and images of female models encased in different forms of packaging, with the concept of "sending beauty around the world".
 
Country Pavilions allowed small- and medium-sized companies from within select markets to obtain direct “face time” with distributors and retailers to secure US distribution. Pavilions included Australia, Brazil, China, Dominican Republic, Italy and Taiwan.
 
Cosmoprof’s International Buyer Program united buyers and sellers with the resources, contacts and data to build business. Exhibiting companies met one-on-one with selected importers and distributors. Overall, 166 meetings were held, involving more than 120 exhibiting companies. A selection of international buyers were invited from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Dominican Republic, Ghana, Kenya, Mexico, Peru, Senegal and Spain to participate.
 
The show floor was brimming with small and large players spanning the beauty, nail, spa, packaging, private label and hair industries. Brands included Creative Nail Design, OPI, Orly, Essie, AHAVA, LPG, Conair, RUSK, TIGI, L’Oreal Technique, Spa Ritual, Le Chat and Cuccio Naturale.
 
OPI launched its new UV light-cured Axxium professional gel lacquers at the show. According to OPI Executive Vice President and Artistic Director, Suzi Weiss-Fischmann, the range is available in the brand’s 12 most popular colours.
 
CND’s Co-founder and Style Director, Jan Arnold previewed their Autumn/Winter 2008 look book for Professional Beauty, which features the gothic influenced Dark Anthem, the opulent, bejewelled Deep Vaulted and the muted greys and taupes of Dreams & Exhaust.
 
The hair industry had, by far, the largest representation, sharing its 8220 square metre floor space with exhibitors of nail products and tools. A highlight of the three days was the annual North American Hairstyling Awards, an evening showcasing and rewarding the talents in the industry.
 
Discover Beauty
Discover Beauty, now in its second year, assisted emerging brands in finding the proper market, while spotlighting new trends for influential retail buyers. Selected Discover Beauty brands met one-on-one with senior buyers from prestigious retailers including Bergdorf Goodman, Henri Bendel, C.O. Bigelow, Macy’s, Fred Segal Studio, Pure Beauty, Beauty Collection and Wynn Las Vegas Apothecary, to present their products for immediate consideration and feedback.
 
 
This year saw the debut of Discover Beauty – Spa, presented in association with the LVSA to bring spa directors from some of the largest spas in the USA to one-on-one meetings with selected exhibiting brands. Spa directors and buyers attending included those from The Spa at Wynn Las Vegas and Encore, Bellagio Spa & Salon, Qua Baths and Spa at Caesars Palace, Nurture – The Spa at Luxor, Wet Spa at Treasure Island, and The Spa at The Golden Nugget. 
 
Twenty three spa and skincare brands exhibited this year, up from 12 brands in 2007. Skincare brands included natural cosmeceutical range, Skin by Monica (USA), dermatologist-developed Goldfaden Beauty (Germany) Libote (Japan); which uses hot spring water in its products, anti-ageing range Skin Nutrition (South Africa) and “skin-science” brand, VMV Hypoallergenics (Philippines). Makeup brands included IKOS (Germany) and Mommy Makeup (USA).
 
Spa brands included Giffarine, natural/organic spa range, Nio (USA/Israel), medispa range, Dermalect Cosmeceuticals (USA) and Farmacia (UK); including wellness brand Urban Healing and OH Bar Spa Detox.
 
A standout in terms of packaging and philosophy was organic skincare range, Exuberance (Canada). Its eyecatching, boldly coloured, recyclable boxes convey “open love letters” – messages of inspiration and affirmation, to consumers. Professional Beauty met with CEO and Founder, Jodi Fedor; who embodies her brand’s namesake. “I was frustrated with how people minimise their worth by comparing themselves to others,” she said. “The love letters are open anthems to women; and what better vehicle than skincare to send these messages? This brand is not aspirational. It’s about emotional connection. People are ready for that. The response has been fantastic.”
 
Inspired by her own skin sensitivity to synthetic fragrances, Fedor created the all-natural range, which she plans to also exhibit at Cosmoprof Hong Kong and eventually export to Asia and Australia.
 
LVSA Director, Jennifer Lynn said the showcase received a “very favourable response on the new and innovative products we reviewed.” 
 
Australia was also represented at Discover Beauty, with men’s skincare range Vitaman, Claytime Australia mineral makeup and Dr Le Winn’s Private Formula skincare exhibiting.
 
Educational seminars
Cosmoprof’s educational seminars were popular; the 12 seminars attracting more than 600 attendees. Leaders from multiple sectors of the industry participated in round-table discussions and panels to share their knowledge and insights. 
 
Acknowledging the growing trend of private label products in salons and spas, Secrets to Developing a Successful Private Label Business offered insight from successful players from various facets of the private label business. 
 
The natural beauty market is big business. Consumer demand for natural and organic beauty brands is one of most important issues to impact the beauty industry, and in light of this, the PBA presented Alisa Beyer of beauty research and brand strategy firm, The Benchmarking Company, translating consumer insight about naturals and organics into real world brand strategy in The Age of Naturals workshop. Attendees learnt how to identify the growing demand for organic and natural beauty products and the best way to position their company to meet this growing demand. 
 
The PBA Distributor Forum on Best Practices provided networking opportunities for distributors and beauty store operators of all sizes to interact with other distributors and receive insight on how other distributors run their businesses. Some topics discussed included how to educate salon owners about retail, how to attract the right staff members and how to maintain current staff.
 
Everyone’s going Green
Green is the biggest trend in beauty at the moment and some seminars were a reflection of this.
 
With spas fully embracing all things green, from organic product offerings and treatments to the use of earth-friendly elements and eco-installations, Vendors & Spas: Greener Together looked at how to “go green” economically. Organised in conjunction with DAYSPA Magazine, the seminar featured speakers who covered sustainable spas from all aspects. Brett Blumenthal, a consultant with Gensler, spoke on sustainable architectural design and decor; Rhana Pytell, owner of Gaia Spa, offered sustainable strategies for existing spas; and Boldijarre Koronczay of Eminence Organics presented the vendor’s role in green branding and eco-friendly products.  
 
With Pavilion B hosting stands from packaging manufacturers and suppliers, it’s clear the packaging element is big in the US. And “green” packaging was a hot topic.

Professional Beauty attended the seminar, "Going Green: Which Sustainable Package is Right for your Beauty Brand", which covered the issue of providing genuinely sustainable packaging for the increasing number of consumers demanding not just organic and natural ingredients, but those packaged with minimal environmental impact. John Delfausse from The Estee Lauder Companies opened the seminar, suggesting that the original environmental mantra of "reduce, reuse, recycle" be changed to "design, use and reuse, recover at the end of a product’s life", with a view to zero waste. He cited how Estee Lauder, and its subsidiaries, Aveda and Clinique have adopted sustainable practices in their packaging manufacture, for example, using 100 per cent renewable energy such as wind power.

Gina Garrubbo, of Natural Beauty Innovations, spoke about how small companies may incorporate sustainable packaging into their business. From her experience, it has been hard to do both ethically, and economically. "There is a lack of innovators in this area. Small businesses can have problems with manufacturer’s minimum orders being too high.”

Garrubbo also admitted her company has to be "completely transparent in our inability to be perfect" – in light of much "greenwashing" by companies not so "green" in their practices. Consumers are demanding honesty and transparency from companies, she said.

Final speaker, Robert Kerr of Pure Strategies, outlined the environmental impact of non-sustainable packaging, along with slides of sobering images of where plastics end up in oceans and on land.

The question was also posited by all three speakers: Even though companies might make their products in a sustainable manner, will the consumer recycle the end product? Suggestions on how to encourage this included labelling on products with directions on how to recycle, and "send back" schemes where consumers can send empty containers back to the manufacturer.
 

Cosmoprof North America 2009 is planned for July 19 to 21 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, Las Vegas.
 

Leave a comment