Online Exclusives

Little Brand in a Big Box

By Christine Esposito, Associate Editor | January 5, 2012

Lily.B quickly moved from start-up to the shelves of Costco and is now out to become a household name.

Any brand that makes it onto the shelves at Costco can be considered a success. But to do so after just 12 months in business is even more impressive. That’s what’s happened to Lily.B Skincare, a fledgling line created by industry veteran Liz Bishop.

Bishop—who has spent 20 years in the cosmetics/pharma industry, including a stint with Kinerase—has created Lily.B, a new skin care line based on a simple regimen formulated to cleanse, nourish and protect the skin with an emphasis on natural ingredients.

Her goal, she told HAPPI, was to keep the line simple by targeting women who were “used to doing nothing, but weren’t ready to jump to the next extreme” in their skin care regimen—aka those past the acne phase,but not ready for intensive anti-aging products either.

Currently there are five Lily.B SKUs—a rose hip-infused facial wash, hydrating serum, moisturizer, SPF 50 lotion and an eye cream.

Having debuted in June 2010, Lily.B is now in its second pilot run in 19 Costco stores.

But getting into the members-only retailer wasn’t easy.

Lily.B Skincare is getting shelf space next to mulinational brands.
When Lily.B was pitched to Costco execs, they liked what they saw, but “didn’t work with emerging brands,” according to Bishop.

Still, Bishop plugged along.

“Coming from the competitive world of beauty, you need to think big and spend as big as you can. We worked with a national firm with PR in New York, top down instead of grassroots,” she said.

A breakthrough came when Parents magazine lauded Lily/B’s Multi-Action Rescue Ultra Eye Cream—and Costco brass took notice.

The retailer brought Lily.B in for a trial run in May 2011, placing it on the shelves next to Olay and other big names in personal care.

"The first time I saw Lily.B Ultra Eye Cream on the shelves at Costco, competing alongside powerhouse beauty brands, I knew the hard work was starting to pay off and I was on the right track,” Bishop said.

According to Bishop, at the end of the promotion, Lily.B had met 80% of its revenue goal, and did so without an advertising campaign or celebrity face fueling interest.

Costco is now trying to find out if Lily.B can replicate its performance in another 20 stores—and has this time put the brand on a coveted end-cap.

As she waits to see the outcome of this latest run in Costco, Bishop hasn’t been sitting idle in her quest to make Lily.B a household name.

For instance, Lily.B is sold on the Military Shopping Channel, a new QVC-style online endeavor from TV retail guru Kevin Harrington that sells wares to military families only, and it was in the talent lounge at the 45th annual Country Music Awards in Nashville.

The brand is also sold on and at a handful of local brick and mortar beauty stores.

Plus, Bishop said Lily.B is in talks with a “high-profile” ambassador or spokesperson, which she said will help “open more doors.”

Having worked with large firms as well as at some start-ups, Bishop knows the long, hard road that all skin care brands face.

“My days have never been longer, the hurdles have never been higher,” Bishop said. “You have to be believe what can get accomplished. You need a plan and preparation...We never saw Costco coming. That fuels my fire.”


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