the truth behind the numbers

by Angela, Bellacara

This Thursday evening (yes, tomorrow), Bellacara is hosting its annual holiday party. During the hours of 6pm – 9pm, the discount is 15% off all your purchases. (Keep reading. This isn’t just an event notice.) Bellacara offers a similar discount only two other times a year…early morning Black Friday and Bellacara’s Annual Anniversary Sale in March.

So, why should someone make the effort to head to Bellacara for only 15% off? It seems like every other store has a sign offering 30-50% this time of year. What makes our sale special?

The beauty industry is unique in several respects. Perhaps one of the most important distinctions is the margin for retailers. Most apparel companies mark up their items 2.2 times their cost–that’s the industry standard. So if a store buys an item for $20, they sell it for $44. This allows them to stock sizes that they may or may not be able to sell in order to accommodate everyone. Of course, big box stores enjoy relationships that allow them even greater margins often in excess of 5 times their cost.

The beauty industry, however, doesn’t have to concern itself with sizing so the beauty companies don’t offer the same margins to the stores carrying their products. An item that is purchased for $20 often is sold at $34. This is why you rarely see across-the-board sales on beauty products. Most beauty companies never offer 15% off everything. Instead, you have to spend a certain amount to trigger the discount or they offer a gift with purchase. A gift of their choosing, of course. What you may not know is that this is actually part of their marketing budget and is designed to hook you on additional products.

So, does 15% off everything at Bellacara sound like a lot when you see ads and commercials for 75% off clearance clothing items at department stores? Of course not. But is it still a big deal? Yes. If there is something you’ve been pining for, this is your chance to get it at a discount. For those of you who always wanted to try a Clarisonic brush, the Skinceuticals CE Ferulic serum or the Wrinkle MD, this is your chance to get them at 15% off. On the Skinceuticals serum alone that would save you $23 which is enough to buy another product of your choosing for free. Any day of the week, that’s better than a gift with purchase you may never use!

  • The latest from Angela
I have been a beauty junkie for what seems like forever, but before I did anything about it, I went to law school. (Yes, my life is a little like the reverse of Legally Blonde.) Then, I worked as a prosecutor in Sonoma County after which I moved to the DC area with my husband in ’97. I served as Majority Counsel to the Senate Banking Committee followed by a year-long stint at a lobbying firm. You get the picture. It was then that I decided to act on my dream of becoming an entrepreneur. Finding my favorite beauty products proved to be impossible without stepping foot in a mall–the horror. So, I decided to bring my favorites to Alexandria. A few trips to New York and a flight to France and Bellacara was born in March 2000.

Located in historic Old Town Alexandria, for more than 17 years Bellacara has been Northern Virginia's preeminent boutique for high end cosmetic, skincare and haircare products. At Bellacara you will find premiere beauty products that have been carefully edited by the store’s owner, Angela Sitilides, who personally tests all the products sold in store. The boutique carries only the best product lines – Kiehl’s, Jouer, Dr. Dennis Gross, Christophe Robin, Moroccan Oil, Bumble & Bumble, Fresh, Molton Brown, Skinceuticals, Smashbox, Stila, Mario Badescu, Clarins, Dermalogica, Kevyn Aucoin, Kai, Child, St. Tropez, Smith and Cult, and many more.

1000 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22314


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