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A Grassroots Effort for BeautyBank

Estee Lauder's BeautyBank division is launching Grassroots, a lifestyle brand offering a wide range of products, at Kohl's in August.

NEW YORK — After launching three targeted beauty brands in quick succession, BeautyBank is aiming to draw in the entire family — including the dog.

The division of the Estee Lauder Cos., which launched Flirt, American Beauty and Good Skin exclusively at Kohl’s Department Stores last October, will offer a wide range of product categories with Grassroots, the lifestyle brand it will launch in the retailer’s doors in August. The offerings include bath, body and hair products, as well as specialized categories for children, pregnancy and post-pregnancy and even for pets.

“This brand is meant to bring a smile to your face,” said Jane Hudis, president of BeautyBank, calling Grassroots a “lifestyle and family brand which augments categories we don’t already have [for BeautyBank].”

Dan Brestle, chief operating officer of the Estee Lauder Cos., said that the company is very pleased with BeautyBank’s progress thus far. “These products were created to turn mass consumers into prestige consumers, rather than try to convince prestige customers to trade down,” he said, noting that the brand’s pricing is more expensive than products at the high end of mass, but less expensive than most department store lines. “All indications are that it’s working well.” However, he declined to cite sales figures.

With more than 700 products among four brands, BeautyBank will focus on these lines for the next year and a half to two years, said Brestle, who added that it was unlikely that a fifth brand would make a debut before fall 2007.

There are 76 products in the new Grassroots line, ranging in price from $7.50 to $18; most average around $12.50. They are broken down into seven categories: Face, which has 24 stockkeeping units; Body, with 19 sku’s; Hair, with 18 sku’s; Post Pregnancy, with four sku’s including a belly cream; Baby, with four sku’s; Kids, with four sku’s, and Pets, with three sku’s. Each has a catchy name — For Crying Out Loud is an ice pack in the kids’ line, while Best Seat in the House is a diaper rash cream in the baby line — and a label clearly stating, right under that name, exactly what the product is intended for. The labels also feature lifestyle photographs — everything from sunflowers to men giving women piggyback rides, depending on the product.

The products are all infused with essential oils, such as vanilla, rosemary and lavender, noted Debbie Druker, brand head for Grassroots. Packaging is simple and recyclable.

The brand’s tag line is “naturally sourced products to bring joy to everyday life.”

While Hudis emphasized that she expects the line to appeal to “a wide age range,” she said that the brand’s core audience is likely to come from consumers in their 20s, 30s and 40s.

While no national advertising is planned, the Grassroots effort will include sampling as well as a presence in the retailer’s marketing vehicles. As well, a collateral piece that Druker calls a “magalogue” will be a key piece. More than 500,000 pieces of the 28-page brochure will be produced. Sampling will also be emphasized. “That’s key for this consumer,” said Hudis. “She likes products and demonstrations, and we’re going to give that to her.”

The products will be merchandised on a freestanding wood display unit that features the brand’s tag line and mission, as well as lifestyle photos like those on the products’ labels. “We’re planning to capture all of her senses with this launch,” promised Druker.

None of the executives would comment on projected sales, although industry sources estimated that Grassroots would do about $15 million to $20 million at retail in its first year on counter.

The brand will also have a freestanding Web site, grassrootslife.com, for information. It will contain a link to kohls.com for both store location information and e-commerce. The Grassroots Web site will also have a blog at launch that will be written by Jay McGraw, son of Dr. Phil and author of “Renovate Your Family.”