While this recession may be putting a crimp in marketing budgets (undeservedly so, the pundits tell us), it isn't spoiling our need for that new lipstick. You got it - women may cut back on fashion, we may even give up Ben and Jerry's, but we're not giving up our Fuchia Fantasy or our Rosy Red, those fancy-named, glossy colored, beauty accroutements we gals slide over our lips every morning, before leaving the house. Even women who do not use other kinds of make-up, usually dab that special lipstick on - the better to lift her mood, on good and bad days.
In her book, Lipstick, A Celebration of the World's Favorite Cosmetic, Jessica Pallingston writes (of women in the depression era of the 1930s), "However destitute, people (surely she meant 'women') still found money to spend on beauty and entertainment -- movies and lipstick."
And so it goes - what goes around, comes around, as they say. We're in the middle of a recession, with whispers of that "D" word on the lips of newscastors from CNN to MSNBC to Fox, and still, women will have their lipstick. According to this article at Forbes Woman, Pallingston was right on with her assertion. The necessity of a woman to have that tube of instant beauty is reminiscent of those desperate long ago days.
"During the Depression, we saw the 'Lipstick Effect,'" says Northeastern University professor of marketing, Nancy Upton, of the increase in cosmetic sales, particularly lipstick, despite buyers' financial hardship. "We see people making economically irrational decision to lift their mood."
With so many of us in business today - that need to look polished and put together, not necessarily to don the latest in runway fashions, but to put forth our best face - is crucial to our success. Just as men will continue to shave (those that do shave), and will wear those knotted nooses about their neck, so women will continue to paint their faces - and lipstick is still the best deal around. Just ask any Mary Kay or Avon lady.
To take a quote from page139 of Pallingston's book, attributed to Carol Shaw, make-up artist to the stars, "Put on a red lipstick and immediately you're a diva."
Diva status suits you. Claim it. Paint your lips and strut your stuff and don't give in to the news. Even better - figure out how to use this to your advantage when courting real women - not the numbers in a marketing report or touted in a magazine story about "the women's market". REAL WOMEN - like you. And me. And your Mom, your sister, your sister-in-law, your aunt, even your grandmother. That's what it's all about, real women refusing to allow the economy to dictate their future.
If we buy into the idea of a Lipstick Effect, it's because lipstick is more than face-paint. Lipstick is our guarantee to ourselves that everything will be all right. Take my high heels, take my Prada purse. But don't touch my Raving Red lipstick!