Drs. Katie Rodan and Kathy Fields, have relaunched their skincare brand, Rodan & Fields Dermatologists, as a direct selling endeavor. It was originally sold through department stores.
Though the brand was doing well in department stores, where it was available from 2002 to 2007, the change was necessary because “a retail counter was [holding] the brand back instead of letting it soar,” said Lori Bush, president and general manager of Rodan & Fields LLC.
Since word-of-mouth, and not traditional advertising, was what was driving the growth of the brand, “it was decided that connecting with people on a very personal level was the way this brand needed to be marketed,” Bush said.
The line was doing well on QVC, where there’s an intimate relationship between the spokesperson and the audience that is difficult to execute in a department store, Bush said. At first, the principals considered developing a stronger relationship with QVC or another direct marketing organization before settling on a multilevel marketing business plan.
The brand needed initially to separate itself from Estée Lauder, which had acquired Rodan & Fields in 2003 but didn’t have a presence in direct selling or an interest in branching into this area of the beauty industry.
The skincare business was sold back to Rodan & Fields LLC last August and the company withdrew from department stores by the end of 2007. It launched as a direct selling business on March 1, with 2,000 consultants who had become engaged with the brand via a test program. The company’s hopes to have 7,500 consultants by the end of the year.
While the Rodan & Fields brand is already a known entity, the company is still doing everything it can to support its new endeavor. The doctors are doing a national tour for half-day educational clinics to introduce attendees to the brand, the way the company works and the various options for participation. The goal of these
events is to “create a predisposition for the products and the brand that will support the recruiting efforts of the consultants going forward,” Bush said.
The model focuses on “creating a foundation of customer loyalty that rewards them generously for engaging on an ongoing basis,” Bush said.
The Rodan & Fields line is based on following a specific skincare regimen and is heavily skewed toward anti-aging formulations, similar to the Proactiv Solution acne regimen, which Drs. Rodan and Fields built using direct response TV.