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Bare Necessities?

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February 16, 2007 – Comments (6)

I put a short on Bare Escentuals in CAPS, in large part because I just wasn't sure what the competitive sustainable advantage is. True, it seems to be a popular product so far with a good premise (that it's good for your skin because it's made of minerals). However, having been a woman for almost 37 years I've noticed hot cosmetics come and go. It seems to me there are few that really command loyalty (I'd argue maybe something like Clinique has showed great staying power).

Anyway last night I caught a TV commercial advertising L'Oreal's Bare Naturale Powdered Mineral Foundation. Sound familiar? It sure looked familiar, right down to the brush that was pictured with the product, which looks to me just like the kabuki brush sold for full coverage for Bare Escentuals.

The Web site Epinions had a four-star user rating for the L'Oreal product, and one review seemed to be touting the same types of benefits Bare Escentuals talks about. (It's better for your skin, etc.) It also mentioned Neutrogena has a powder foundation called Mineral Sheers. Furthermore, the reviewer seems to have used the same manner to apply the L'Oreal product as Bare Escentuals. And... user comments included such opinions as it was better than Bare Escentuals and another said it was cheaper to try. Many women are reluctant to shell out a lot of money on a product that might not look right on their skin.

This isn't to say Bare Escentuals doesn't provide a good product that isn't hot right now -- I just wonder when these competitors eat its lunch. I can only imagine the L'Oreal version is MUCH cheaper. (For example, I believe Bare Escentuals' kabuki brush sells for about $28 on its own -- well it is of course made of goat hair LOL.)

Anyway, again, just wondering what the competitive sustainable advantage is as more companies offer similar products.

6 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On February 16, 2007 at 12:02 PM, LeanieBean (62.99) wrote:

Alyce --

I agree, and have posted similar thoughts on being a bit of a bear on Bare ;-). I continue to wonder if Tom G's thumbs up will win over time on the long haul vs. yours? and Seth's? thumbs down. I just don't want Tom to be more knowledgeable / instinctively somehow right on this one (whatever it is that he may thinking on it) and not my bearish thinking especially re: their perceived competitive advantage...is that wrong?

I suppose it is. heh! Touche, enguard in your foolishness Gardner, I call for a duel!! (Lots of caffeine on this Friday, can you tell?)

Anyway, fwiw I believe you are right on :)...the the base foundation on Bare runs I think $25-35 for the foundation w/o the brush (toss the brush in and your at $50+)...but you can buy a starter kit with like 4 kinds of powders & brushes close to $100. Truth be told I'm wearing Bare right now, but it was a gift, and I'm not yet a loyalist, nor do I think I will be on this one. (and fwiw L'oreal & Nutrogena sim. products I believe will run you under $20 complete with application tools...)

Cheers,

E

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#2) On February 16, 2007 at 1:14 PM, TMFLomax (46.94) wrote:

Hi E -- I just checked out your blog post on BARE and I think we have many of the same concerns about this one... right on! The cheap knockoffs available in the grocery store... yeah, I just have a hard time thinking BARE can keep it up. There's always something new in cosmetics...

Oh and I forgot to rant on... why oh why the "Escentual" spelling? LOL...

Alyce

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#3) On February 16, 2007 at 2:30 PM, TMFLomax (46.94) wrote:

Did I? Oh yes I did... experienced some kind of dyslexia of terminology... I meant to write "sustainable competitive advantage" -- I'm not sure why I always pull the old switcheroo there... lol.

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#4) On February 16, 2007 at 2:33 PM, LeanieBean (62.99) wrote:

Yes, the "Escentual", I don't quite get that either. In Google if you put in the reg."bare essential" spelling you do get links for all BARE's products...I can't help but think someone had to already have the correct spelling copyrighted for something else, or why even go there? It seems a little odd.

Ok, so, I'm going to try to think like a Bull on them now for a moment...

One thing is TV infomercial & QVC --> home-shopper buying via TV...is a total enigma to me. I have no idea of BARE's cumulative/growing power in sales there...and for all I know it could be gaining ground. I just think it's such a weird avenue, but guess it's besides the point if it provides for growth. (Hummm BARE, SCSS...Infomerical T.V...).

I notice also on t.v. Jessica Simpson is now peddling ProActive, which seems to have quite a following.

Also, another thing I am really curious about for BARE is whether t.v. folks...as in those who have to be on camera & make-up artists can/are making use of this product line...if so, it could be a big deal. Typically those products for stage / tv/ other I believe are oil based and pretty bad for the skin...if they could leverage a play there vis a vis other brands it could possibly be a boon for them...perhaps...

<still my brow raises and points funny with this co though...we'll see how it rides the tide I guess :) >

-E

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#5) On February 16, 2007 at 9:14 PM, devoish (96.47) wrote:

I know this is a Wacko Liberal, Treehuggin, Progress Stoppin, kind of response, but i'm with the Maverick's last paragraph.

http://www.ewg.org/reports/skindeep/?key=nosign

Be good,

Steven

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#6) On February 19, 2007 at 10:50 AM, TMFLomax (46.94) wrote:

I definitely think QVC is a weird distribution channel. I don't really get that. On the other hand, Bare Escentuals does sell through Sephora, which seems like a better way to go... and I have also been thinking recently about what they use for the tv folks because I have also heard the makeup they use on camera is heavy and bad for the skin.

And devoish, I've been reading articles about the lack of oversight in cosmetics and some unpleasant side effects some ingredients might cause... interesting stuff! And perhaps something all cosmetic companies are going to have to deal with soon...

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