LONDON — Mama Mio has a new father figure.

This month, industry veteran Bob Nielsen made a "substantial investment" in the treatment brand for mothers, which is based here. "This is the mother of all opportunities," said Nielsen, who added he was coaxed out of retirement by the brand's potential.

"[There are] five million pregnant women in the U.S. at any one time and [another] five million new mamas, giving us an immediate market of 10 million entering motherhood for the first time," said Sian Sutherland, one of the brand's founders.

"It's deluxe pampering for supermamas," added Nielsen, who is now Mama Mio's chairman. "I've never heard a brand position defined as succinctly."

The brand, which has built its reputation on maternity-specific products, such as Tummy Rub Stretch Mark Oil and Boob Tube bust cream, is currently sold through about 700 doors around the world. Its distribution network includes perfumery floors, maternity stores, e-tail, spas and lifestyle boutiques. With Nielsen's guidance — and unspecified cash injection — plans are afoot to increase the brand's retail reach.

"The priority is to get the right retail combined with e-tail," said Nielsen, adding that spas, where the brand offers pregnancy-oriented treatments, also will be key.

"Our goal is to make Mama Mio an internationally recognized brand," said marketing director Tanya Kazeminy Mackay, who founded the brand with managing director Sutherland and creative director Kathy Miller.

Industry sources estimate Mama Mio's sales could hit $6 million next year, climbing to $10 million in 2009 and could top $25 million within three years. Executives maintain high-end treatment with a maternal orientation has massive growth potential. Prices in the U.S. range from $18 for a 100-ml. bottle of Massage Oil to $65 for a 100-ml. pump bottle of ER Stretch Mark Minimiser.

"How can the perpetuation of the species be a niche market?" asked Kazeminy Mackay, adding mothers-to-be in generally want to continue to use luxury beauty products when pregnant. "There's this idea that you suddenly become an earth mother — a person who wears sandals and grows her armpit hair," she said.In order to keep its formulas bump-friendly, Mama Mio's products are formulated sans parabens, petrolatum and sodium laureth sulfate. Nielsen and the trio believe the brand has the potential to remain part of women's lives long after bassinets have been put into storage. "People talk when they're pregnant about being in the club," said Sutherland. "When you're in that club, you're in that club forever." — Brid Costello


Fragrant Window Dressing

Expect to see more faces than usual pressed up against the windows of London style emporium Harvey Nichols, starting Aug. 4. The department store will feature a scratch 'n' sniff field of flowers on its windows to fete the launch of Marc Jacobs' latest fragrance, dubbed Daisy. The window dressing will be on display for two weeks.

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