Bluemercury has officially launched Pat McGrath Labs.
Bluemercury dipped its toes into the partnership with a pared-back assortment for holiday, including McGrath’s collaboration with the Netflix show “Bridgerton.” “We launched it in-store during the holidays, and it was all gone,” said Tracy Kline, head of merchandising, spa and supply chain, Bluemercury. “It was such a great indicator of how the brand will perform, and we just rolled out a larger collection in those stores.”
It also fits into Bluemercury’s prioritization of Black-owned brands. Its parent company signed the 15 Percent Pledge in 2020, and Kline said those efforts are well underway. “We added five additional brands last year, and we’ll continue to evolve and be committed to that belief,” she said. “Beauty is inclusive, it’s not exclusive; it’s about mutual partnership with these brands and ensuring it’s going to be successful.”
Makeup grew double-digits last year, Kline said, and Pat McGrath Labs will serve consumers looking for bolder colors. “They have this very impactive, bold color line,” Kline added. “It’s really enhanced what our offering is within the stores… the covet that Pat has within the category, coupled with that people gravitate towards the high pigmentation and bold color.”
Kline has heard of heightening interest for more expressive makeup brands ever since the pandemic. “Color has always been super playful and fun, and people are more comfortable in their skin and more apt to take risks in color. Pat enables them to do that.”
“Color is definitely having its comeback,” echoed Maly Bernstein, Bluemercury’s chief executive officer. “We’ve launched Sisley, we’ve launched Pat McGrath, and we’re seeing it come back in areas below the mask. People want their lipstick to match their apparel and are going out more; we’re seeing that comeback in color across categories.”
The company’s growth strategy — doubling down on key tenets, then scaling them — has boded well for Bluemercury. “Coming off the highest sales volume in our history, it came back to the four tenets of Bluemercury: highly personalized service with a highly curated set of products that are all proven to drive results in a local, luxury setting,” said Bernstein.
Per Macy’s Inc.’s most recent earnings call, that growth — comparable sales were up 7.2 percent — was driven in part by makeup’s roaring return, in addition to The Cache, Bluemercury’s new initiative to bring in up-and-coming brands on the cutting edge of innovation.
“With The Cache, we’re really excited to be a bigger voice in the industry and a much stronger point of view around what we stand for,” Bernstein said. “Dialing up all of those tenets that make Bluemercury what it is has allowed us to start [the year] on such a high.”
The Cache, which launched in October with U Beauty, Ziip and Ourself, among others, is just one prong of Bluemercury’s skin care strategy. “We have the beauty authorities — we promote innovation from La Mer, while also expanding Augustinus Bader, Dr. Barbara Sturm and iS Clinical,” Bernstein said. “We’re also increasing our clinical and medical authority with Elta MD.”
Fragrance has grown the most since 2019 out of any other category, Bernstein said, both across personal and home fragrance. “With The Cache, we started in skin care, but the aspiration is to take it into other categories as well,” Bernstein said. “For us, we also want to make sure that we continue to grow in all ways, in our brand voice and share of that, and also grow with our stores. We have stores in the most coveted neighborhoods throughout the country and we still see opportunity to further that growth.”
Expansion is one of Bernstein’s priorities for the year ahead. “Our consumers tell us that they love us because we have such high affinity scores with them,” Bernstein said. “We’ve also learned there are many consumers who don’t know us yet, so we’re excited to be putting Bluemercury on the map with a stronger voice and clarity on service, education, curation and being local with products that drive results.”
Bluemercury shoppers have a keen eye on skin care innovations and are willing to “protect their investments they’ve made in their hair,” Bernstein said.