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Butter London inks investment partnership with Encore Consumer Capital

BY Antoinette Alexander

SEATTLE — Indie beauty brand Butter London has announced that private equity investment firm Encore Consumer Capital has made a majority investment in the company and will form a partnership to help develop and market the Seattle-based brand.

Butter London was founded in 2005 by British entrepreneur Sasha Muir, who built the company into a high-design nail lacquer brand and is famed for pioneering "3 Free" nail care in the service sector.

"We are very excited to be working with Encore, who have a proven track record in growing brands into category leaders while maintaining the integrity and identity of the brand. This partnership will allow us to continue to bring the highest quality products to our customers with speed, quality and care," stated Leslie Freytag, Butter London president and CEO.

"We are excited to begin our partnership with the great team at Butter London to help build upon the brand's attractive and unique positioning in the prestige beauty industry," added Kevin Murphy, managing director at Encore Consumer Capital. "We look forward to supporting the company's introduction of great new products and engagement with its valued retailer partners to drive the brand's growth."
 

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NRF calls for payment industry to adopt tokenization

BY Dan Berthiaume

WASHINGTON — The National Retail Federation, Retail Industry Leaders Association, Food Marketing Institute, Merchant Advisory Group, National Association of Convenience Stores, National Grocers Association, and National Restaurant Association are jointly calling for an open and universal tokenization standard in the U.S. payments system. The groups released a statement saying payment card data is currently vulnerable to theft where card information is swiped or entered, where card information is stored, and where it is transmitted.

The group is calling for payment industry stakeholders to adopt tokenization. Tokenization refers to the process of replacing sensitive account data and identity information with a unique token or symbol, making it less vulnerable to a security compromise. Tokens are randomly generated in a secure environment, like a coin vault, so that no data is stored or transmitted in an unsecure format.

“In order for the full benefits of tokenization technology to be realized by U.S. consumers and businesses, the standards for this technology must be created on an open platform that enables all technology providers to compete equally,” says the statement. “An open, interoperable platform will also ensure merchants can support the technology across multiple providers and make back-end security processes seamless for the customer experience.”

The statement also says tokenization will assist retailers in age verification identity checks, and storage and transmission of electronic health records and pharmacy prescriptions. Payment stakeholders are encouraged to participate in an accredited standards process, such as, but not limited to, the International Standards Organization  or American National Standards Institute, to create, maintain, and coalesce around an open solution approach to payments security.

The statement concludes that solutions for tokenization should align with the following guiding principles:

1. Subscribe to an open standards approach through an accredited standards-setting body.

2. Create a technology neutral platform allowing broad participation in the standard from technology stakeholders.

3. Allow participants to develop proprietary frameworks that operate in adherence to the standard.

4. Ensure the standard works for multiple payment environments, including e-commerce and m-commerce.
 
5. Require that intellectual property, such as coin vaults and common technology applications, be governed by the industry standards.

6. Require the standard be supported by all networks, brands and payments types (credit, debit, prepaid, ACH, etc.).

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Survey: Sense of community, style major factors for craft beer industry

BY Ryan Chavis

CHICAGO — As craft beer continues to nudge its way into the spotlight, new research from Mintel reveals some heady findings on consumers and their favorite bold brews. Mintel reported that among consumers ages 25 to 34 years — which represents the segment's heaviest users — 70% say that the brand of craft beer reveals a lot about you and 66% reported say the style reflects the same. This sense of self translates into skyrocketing sales for the craft beer industry: Mintel estimates that sales of craft beer (and craft-style offerings) will climb to $20 billion in 2014.

"There is a strong sense of community in the craft beer world," said Mintel food and drink analyst Beth Bloom. "Consumers like to share knowledge with one another and are highly invested in the products that they choose. Not only that, but craft brands share exposure through collaboration, a practice almost wholly unique to the craft beer market. As such, tap rooms, bottle shops, and beer-garden-style breweries, where craft beer can be discovered, discussed, consumed on-site, and even purchased for at-home enjoyment, make for a complete, customizable experience. Craft beer is not only a beverage choice; it appears to be a lifestyle choice."

Mintel shared a few other statistics from its report:

  • Respondents from households with children are significantly more likely (61%) than those without (49%) to drink beer "to relax";
  • Craft drinkers from the Midwest are significantly more likely than respondents from other regions to support a particular brewery (29%). Western states are the most image conscious, with 57% agreeing that the brand of beer you choose says a lot about you and 47% saying it's a source of pride to try as many beers as they can. The consumption of craft beer is lowest in the South (16%); and
  • More than half (55%) of respondents report that they are willing to spend more money for craft beer, indicating that crafty beer (craft-style beer produced by larger brewers) provides major breweries an avenue for considerable growth.   

"The leading purchase driver among craft beer drinkers is style, pointing to a more discerning consumer base," Bloom said.  "Not only do craft drinkers consider themselves knowledgeable and adventurous, but they're eager to share this knowledge.  In that regard, the craft beer boom shares much in common with the wine renaissance over the past decade. They may not be brand loyal in the strictest sense, but they enjoy supporting local breweries and sharing in that sense of community that the smaller brewers have instilled. This presents vast opportunity for product trial and customization, which will keep the market interesting in the near future. Craft beer allows for people to express their individual sense of style while also allowing for experimentation…and that's a very exciting thing for a lot of people."

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