Merle Norman Cosmetics has built a foundation by offering
samples to customers through its "try before you buy" concept.
Founded by a young woman named Merle Nethercutt Norman, the company
opened its first shop in Santa Monica, California, in 1931. The
family owned company makes and markets primarily skin care products
and color cosmetics that are sold through some 2,000 independently
owned and operated retail outlets operating under the name Merle
Norman Cosmetic Studios. Reaching from the US to Canada, Mexico,
and the United Arab Emirates, its studios are typically located in
malls. Brand names include Automatic Definitive, Inspirations,
Luxiva, and Only Natural, among others.
To control formulation and maintain quality standards, Merle
Norman researches, develops, manufactures, and packages its line of
cosmetics and fragrances in the US. Research and development
activities take place specifically at its headquarters in Los
Angeles. Merle Norman operates warehouse facilities in both Los
Angeles and Memphis.
While the beauty company's operations are US-centric, the
company extends the reach of its business throughout the nation to
Canada and Mexico and overseas to the United Arab Emirates.
The beauty company aims to ultimately boast a network of some
2,500 studios. Merle Norman was able to expand in recent years by
opening about 125 stores a year. During the economic downturn,
however, the company's expansion plans slowed. In an effort to
boost its number of studios, Merle Norman is looking to develop new
franchise locations in several key markets, such as Alabama,
Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia,
Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana,
Massachusetts, and Canada.
Merle Norman is also shifting its focus to growth outside North
America. It has looked to luxury markets, such as the United Arab
Emirates, to extend its reach and cater to its typical upscale
client. To this end, the cosmetics company opened a studio in Dubai
-- representing its first overseas market -- as well as nearby
Sharjah Mega Mall, Mirdiff City Centre, and a studio in the United
The company continues to regularly roll out new products. In
2013 Merle Norman launched a new mascara, a primer that neutralizes
redness, scented body care products, and patented technology for
Company chairman Jack Nethercutt II is founder Merle Norman's