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Drug chains positioned to understand Latinas.

Here in San Antonio Eckerd Corp. and Walgreen Co. are doing a better job of serving Hispanic women's beauty needs than some of the larger stores, such as H.E. Butt Grocery Co. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

The drug chains have a wider variety of lower-price cosmetics, along with such midrange and higher-end brands as L'Oreal and Estee Lauder.

And chain drug retailers are bringing in interesting, urban-oriented lines for African-American women, so Hispanics know that these retailers are not just catering to Caucasians.

Generally retailers should be wary, however, of targeting Latinas with particular brands. An announcement about a new product for Hispanic women called something like Latin Goddess was greeted at this office with snickering. That is because when Latinas go shopping for makeup they want a look for a particular occasion, not a one-size-fits-all product for what is a very diverse ethnic group. Latinas do their beauty product shopping to set a mood. The might want an everyday look for work, or a smokey look for an evening out.

Skin shades of Hispanic women range from black to olive to peachy, so there can hardly be one product for the whole population. If something comes out specifically for a Latina, she is more than likely going to be skeptical. She is even likely to take offense that a manufacturer would presume to try to match every Hispanic shade.

African-American women are different. They have more of an acceptance of brands that try to cater to them. They appreciate being talked about and want makeup customized for their skin color needs. But Latinas, with their varied skin shades, are leery of being singled out.

The way to market to Hispanic women is with a good selection and competitive pricing. And in-store displays need to take into consideration who the customer is. Displays with a variety of models are the most persuasive to Hispanic women.

Some beauty manufacturers really get it right. Cover girl has models from a range of ethnic groups, so an in-store display might have photos of a Caucasian woman showing off lip gloss, an African-American presenting nail color and so forth.

When a Latina shopper recognizes one of the models as having a similar skin tone to herself she will think that since the model looks good in Cover Girl makeup she will too.

The sense Hispanics get is that Cover Girl provides makeup for all kinds of women.

In short, sending a visual message is much more effective than saying with a label or text, "I'm for you." Show us, don't tell us.

Other brands that have won over Latinas include Urban Decay with its variety of colors and the Bonne Bell lip product with the twist-out brush. We like it better than some of the heavier lipstick.

In fact light mauves and purples are the latest fashions in beauty for Hispanics. Just now light violets and nutmeg are coming out for winter.

It remains true that Latinas tend to wear more makeup than other women, so they are also looking for translucent, less cakey products.

When Jennifer Lopez went very light on the cosmetics a couple of years ago to accentuate her natural bronze color it inspired a lot of women to go really natural on the cheeks and lips and focus on their eyes.

Now Jlo looks like she is going even more natural--getting away from the diva look. That is only going to inspire a lot more Hispanic women to cut back on makeup.

Beyond Jlo, as Hispanics become more and more mainstream and Latina models and fashions emerge, a lot of Hispanic women will emphasize their natural good looks. We are going to see a lot of shiny, healthy skin as a reflection of cultural pride.

Erika Prosper Tafolla is director of account service at San Antonio-based Garcia 360, a communications company that helps clients assess opportunities in the Hispanic market.
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Title Annotation:Ethnic Beauty
Comment:Drug chains positioned to understand Latinas.(Ethnic Beauty)
Author:Tafolla, Erika Prosper
Publication:Chain Drug Review
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 24, 2003
Words:651
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