The Scarlett & Crimson property is co-owned and licensed by Coolabi, and its creator Ged Backland. The brand responds to the fact that for teen and tween girls the themes of strong individual style and deep friendships have a powerful resonance. It’s an original approach that appealed strongly to two original thinkers: beauty industry luminaries Ruby Hammer and Millie Kendall.
The Scarlett & Crimson cosmetics gift range, designed by Ruby and Millie and sold exclusively through Boots for the Christmas season in 2009, was a sell-out success and has resulted in Boots committing to a new range in 2010. In addition, Superdrug has now come on board with an everyday range of cosmetics and beauty accessories, again created by Ruby and Millie, which launched in store this month to fabulous reviews. And now perfume manufacturer Myridium has been awarded a licence to produce Scarlett & Crimson perfume and coffret sets, which will launch this autumn as a further extension of the established cosmetics and accessories ranges.
Part of the success of the cosmetics ranges so far has, of course, been down to the care with which they have been developed, but equally important is the fact that the brand has an appeal way beyond its core market.
“Scarlett & Crimson is certainly a teen fashion brand but the themes it emphasises have a wider appeal encompassing tweens and older teens,” says Anna Hewitt, head of licensing at Coolabi.
And it’s an appeal that holds a lot of promise for the brand - and not just in the health and beauty categories where Ruby and Millie are directly involved.
“The added prominence that this gives the brand is perfect for the other categories we are aiming to move into over the coming months,” says Hewitt. Those other categories, now at various stages of development, include gifting and accessories, stationery and apparel. Poetic Gem has been awarded a licence to create a range of Scarlett & Crimson leisurewear, set to launch this autumn, further expanding the brand’s already strong presence in the UK.
Meanwhile, in its other key market of North America, where Lisa Marks & Associates Inc was appointed in 2009 to drive the brand forward, a master apparel program has been announced with Jem Sportswear and Jem’s Awake Division. A further high profile beauty deal is also due to be announced shortly.
In both these markets brand awareness is underpinned by a 16-book publishing program with Simon and Schuster. Written by a highly experienced Hollywood writing team, the first two books in the Scarlett & Crimson series appeared last summer, with more added this year, adding personality and back-story to the brand: the girls are students at V. Price Memorial Middle School, where they launch a band called DarqStarz and show a healthy disregard for cliques and elites.
The look and feel of the brand is extended to the internet through the www.scarlettandcrimson.com site, with its emphasis on chat, friendship, fashion and the sharing of secrets — and music: you can download tracks there, performed by a newly formed real-life DarqStarz, inspired by the band within the Scarlett & Crimson books.
It’s a carefully developed brand, then, both as a concept and as a fashion ideal, and that’s reflected in the style guide for the property, a guide that combines the girls’ signature colours of red and black with brighter palettes, reflecting the themes of individuality and friendship that underpin the brand.
The international licensing programme is already enjoying a great response in the US. The next stage is expansion into non-English-speaking territories in Europe and Asia. Further expansion is expected as Scarlett & Crimson’s originality and style gain the brand more fans looking for something that reflects their own interests and experience.
As Hewitt says: “The brand has evolved significantly over the last 12 to 18 months to become a genuine alternative to more girly, cute brands — and as such very much in tune with the mood of the times.”