Walmart’s budding beauty play

Flower, the retailer's cosmetics line with Drew Barrymore, hits stores this fall, touting prestige at an affordable price.

Walmart is gearing up to roll out its Flower cosmetics line – a collaboration with celeb Drew Barrymore – which aims to be a prestige brand at a mass price.

Within the cosmetics category, the retailer has taken notice of the high-end segment’s growth, says Jennifer Stahlke, senior director of merchandising for cosmetics, Walmart. And though this elevated quality is sought-after, it is not affordable for everyone.

“Given that we’re seeing that growth, we know that if we bring the customer the quality that they’re looking for, that they’re experiencing and seeing in prestige, we certainly think that we can drive traffic into our stores because this is exclusive to Walmart and it’s delivering on what the consumer is looking for.”

The line, which has been available in the U.S. since January 2013, falls within the mid to high range of the retailer’s cosmetics offering, with prices ranging from $5.98 to $9.98, and fragrances at $9.98 for the small size and $24.98 for the larger product. (The fragrances have already rolled out in stores.) The collection will be available after Thanksgiving, and is targeted at women aged 24 to 40.

Stahlke says she expects Barrymore will resonate with consumers as she has evolved over the years, and like the retailer’s core customer, is a mother. And despite her celebrity status, the retailer feels she is still accessible and down-to-earth enough to win over shoppers.

To support the launch, Walmart will turn to its owned assets with its Live Better magazine, flyer, website and social, while Barrymore is slated to come to Canada to promote the line in November. She will meet with media to discuss the line and its development, while the possibility of a meet and greet with consumers is still to be determined. This summer, a number of Canadian beauty editors met with Barrymore at her summer home in Nantucket, where they were able to peruse the products.

Christmas gift sets within the portfolio are also slated to launch in November, and the retailer will strive to work with media to get them featured in Christmas gift lineups.

Stahlke says Flower differs from the usual celebrity fragrance or beauty collaborations as Barrymore was closely involved in its conception. Given the nature of her profession, she is often getting her makeup done and has a pulse on the industry, she says.

“She’s able to take that understanding of what’s innovative and what’s coming in cosmetics and bring it to this mass brand.”