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.
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
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.
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 Arab Emirates.
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