Nicholas Munafo And Barbara Luisi
Divulge Sales Strategies For Brands At Beaute Prestige International USA
Beauté Prestige International (BPI) USA recently named Barbara Luisi as Vice President of Sales. Beauty Fashion sat down with Ms. Luisi and
BPI USA’s President Nicholas Munafo to discuss her new role with the company.
Beauty Fashion: Why is Barbara a good fit for BPI USA?
Nicholas Munafo: Having worked with Barbara for many years, I realized that she possesses a special talent in her ability to drive sales while building and maintaining brand image. That’s a really unique skill, especially in a strong sales person.
BF: Have you any plans to change the structure of the Sales Department and if so, what new initiatives would you undertake?
NM: We are constantly challenging how we run our sales team to better service our retail partners and, ultimately, the end consumer. But right now, bringing in Barbara is the only change we have planned.
BF: It is particularly challenging to have so many different luxury brands, each with its own very unique personality and marketing approach.
As President, how do you enable your sales team to create the right
program for each brand?
NM: Training is imperative in this aspect. While many of our competitors have walked away from training, we maintain a dedicated Training Department. Each of our brands has a unique
story, and with the proper training, our sales team is in a better position to really know and understand each of the brands and make the appropriate choices.
BF: In your new role as Vice President of Sales for BPI, what will be your initial efforts as you work with its luxury fragrance brands?
Barbara Luisi: We want to make sure we are prepared to execute our programs for the fourth quarter and the fall season. We recently took on Annick Goutal, which is a beautiful fit for our portfolio. We just finished training the field on that brand, so getting Annick Goutal up and running for the fall season is a top priority.
BF: Did you do anything for Annick Goutal in addition to or different from what you usually do in training for the other luxury brands in your portfolio?
BL: We trained the entire sales force on the core and the heritage of Annick Goutal and how to get the brand back on solid footing
NM: Annick Goutal has been through so much turmoil in the last 18 months. Yet, despite that, we haven’t lost the love of the retailers or the love of the consumers.
Annick Goutal was the original lifestyle brand, launched almost 30 years ago. Many competitors have come in and tried to step into that segment of the category, but this is the only one that is a fine French lifestyle brand, and we really expect big things from it going forward.
Since this is our first foray into lifestyle brands, we are taking a different approach to the multi-faceted fragrances and wide variety of products it offers.
BF: In the current retail environment, which is saturated with fragrance launches, how do you plan to create a point of different for your brands?
BL: Actually, the beauty of the BPI portfolio is that it doesn’t necessarily rely on new launches. Our core business is really the focus of what we do every day. We have brands that are 10 or 15 years old that still range in the top 10 or 20, so our goal is always to drive our core business first.
NM: For example, Le Male launched in 1995, and three years ago, it was #12. Year-to-date, it’s #8, and we continue to develop it within its very selective distribution across the country.
BF: Each of the luxury brands in the BPI portfolio is unique. How will you work with the sales field to nurture and drive interest in them at-counter?
BL: For the BPI portfolio, we create programs specific to retailers and to the brand. For us, there’s no such thing as “one size fits all.” We have individual programming with retailers, and our sales force is trained to execute them.
We execute beautifully in specialty [retailers]. We maintain a strong presence in department stores. We program and train our sales team to run all of those businesses together on the back end and individually on the retailer and consumer side.
NM: It’s really about understanding priority by distribution channels and smartly playing the distribution pyramid.
For example, you have Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus where Narciso Rodriguez,
Hermès and Annick Goutal are very important. The sales team must drive and nurture those brands. On the other hand, you have the department store world—Macy’s, Dillard’s—where Le Male is king. In those doors, that brand becomes [the sales team’s] first priority.
BF: How do you plan to strategize with the retailers to bring excitement to your brands at-counter in ways that you hadn’t thought about before?
BL: It’s the theater and activity that you develop that gives the consumer a reason for stopping and playing at your counter. Our marketing team has provided us with phenomenal tools. For example, with the Narciso Rodriguez brand, we have tools for our sales team with stopping power that really engages the customer.
NM: Theater can look very differently by brand. For special events, our BPI marketing team here in New York City works very closely with our colleagues in Paris to come up with events and animations that are on-brand. They really respect the DNA of each brand and yet are compelling, fun and interesting; they break through the clutter at point-
BF: Will you phase in any new education and training programs to help the Fragrance Sales Associates more
effectively communicate the message of BPI’s fragrances?
BL: Actually, we just added a West Coast Trainer, so we now have both East and West Coast Trainers. BPI believes very strongly in education, so having two people out in the field training is tremendous.
NM: We’re constantly leveraging technology to continue to educate our Fragrance Sales Associates and our Beauty Advisors. For instance, we have a seasonal newsletter that we are now taking online. The training programs developed in Paris are hi-tech and interactive. When implemented locally, the response has been overwhelmingly positive, and information retention is steadily increasing.
BF: Are there any new retail doors you would like to open that are not now in BPI’s channel of distribution or any other channel of distribution that you think would be effective for the brands?
BL: BPI’s main objective is to drive strong business with our current retail partners. We are very cautious about our distribution and where we play. We have no plans to expand our distribution.
NM: There is a three-part BPI DNA that is executed across all five of our brands: premium image, quality products and selective distribution. That simple formula has always been at the heart of our philosophy. BF