When Lipstick Went to War
Did you know that during WWII, one of the “luxury” items that never went on ration or out of fashion was lipstick?
Most cosmetics were banned from production, or in such limited production, due to their ingredients being deemed either necessary for the war effort, or unattainable due to wartime conditions.
Women in general, and governments in particular, realized that red lipstick was an essential. Hitler supposedly hated it, making it patriotic to wear in Allied countries.
Women entering the workforce in place of their men in uniform saw it as a way to accentuate and affirm their femininity in very unladylike roles.
And women in uniform viewed lipstick as a combination of both of those things – a patriotic gesture and a way to retain their womanliness.
The government of the US decided that these hard-working, patriotic women deserved their little luxuries, and consigned Elizabeth Arden to create “Regimental Red” – a color that matched the red piping on the WAC uniform.
It became one small part of a much larger pre-war cosmetic collection that a woman could still get, even in the darkest days of the conflict. And get it, they did.
In fact, lipstick sales soared during the war, selling more than in the heyday of the Roaring 20s and even more than the prosperous 50s that followed.
So What is the Lipstick Factor?
There is a marketing term – the lipstick effect – that we have to get out of the way first.
The lipstick effect says that consumers will buy small luxuries even during economic downturns and hard times. In the 30s, cosmetic sales remained steady as the economy floundered. Women were willing to give up other items to afford a bit of lipstick.
During the war, morale was important, and as we’ve seen, lipstick was once again a luxury even the government thought important enough to keep available.
It was one small part of their pre-war cosmetic regimen that they couldn’t afford not to keep.
What is a Lipstick Offer?
The lipstick offer is more akin to that one small part than to a luxury.
It’s taking one small portion of your main offer or package deal and making it accessible a la carte.
Say you are a massage therapist. You offer 60 and 90 minute sessions. They sell pretty well, but you don’t sell them all, so you have little chunks of time here and there throughout your schedule.
Now, say you were to offer a 30 minute neck and shoulder session for a portion of the whole body session fee. Just that. Necks and shoulders, for a small price.
You’d fill up some “wasted” time in your calendar, add some income to your monthly take-home pay, and perform a valuable service to the busy executive or stressed out mom.
Congratulations! You’ve just created a lipstick offer for your business.
Any business, service or product based, can create and offer their own lipstick offers. All it takes is a little ingenuity and careful pricing.
How Lipstick Offers Work
When you create your lipstick offer, you need to consider three things:
- Your target audience
- Your offering
- Your price
Your offer should be something that your audience already finds popular, useful, or as in the case of lipstick, necessary. Offer them something not meeting one or more of those standards and you may find you have a dud offer on your hands.
Your lipstick offer should be a small part of something you already do or sell. For example, you’ll notice that Bloomers Marketing offers a la carte blog articles in addition to our quarterly blogging packages.
This allows clients several opportunities:
- to try out my blogging services before a major 3 month commitment
- to fill in some missing content they may need
- to fill in for their “regular” writer in a pinch
It’s a lipstick offer that works, because it’s already a part of a package that many purchase.
And since it’s an offer of 1 to 4 articles, it’s naturally cheaper than the quarterly package, yet still priced at a reasonable rate.
And that’s exactly what your lipstick offer should be and do, too. An in-demand service or product, for a reasonable, fair price far below what your whole product or service package requires and costs.
Lipstick Offers, Your Biz, and You
So, now that you know what a lipstick offer is, how to create one, and what it can do for your biz, what do you think? Is it time to create one for yourself? What can you come up with?
Drop a line in the comments, or on the Bloomers Marketing Facebook page and let me know what you’ve come up with. Or if you need coming up with one on your own.
Until next time, lipstick kisses and hugs!