Expansion Plan Is Somme Strategy
NEW YORK — Niche skin care firm Somme Institute is taking its namesake brand to spas as part of an expansion strategy this year.

Each time Somme's treatment collection is introduced at a new door — be it a Nordstrom spa or an independent operation — Somme-trained aestheticians hold at least a day of customer consultations, which are highlighted by an ultraviolet imaging procedure designed to expose skin damage.

After a camera snaps customers' pictures, they receive images resembling photo negatives, which are said to show the dermal layer 3 millimeters below the skin. This purportedly reveals skin damage before it manifests itself on the skin's surface. Customers then are given treatment regimens using Somme's five-item product line. More than a dozen of these events, which kicked off last fall, have generated anywhere between $10,000 and $20,000 a pop, depending on the location.

Somme plans to launch its line at 11 Nordstrom spas by yearend, spaces that are mainly located in-store and that feature an average of 10 rooms. Somme recently returned to three Nordstrom spas it already had visited — in Seattle, San Francisco and Houston — for follow-up imaging and to "show the customers the difference in their skin on the surface and subsurface," said Michele Mas, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Somme. Upcoming Nordstrom launches include Oak Brook, Ill.; Chicago; Garden City, N.Y., and Costa Mesa, Calif.

"At the moment, we are in launch mode," said Mas, and "we'll probably go back [to spas] on a regular basis." Mas noted that, after a consultation, customers often spend $244 for Somme's full product range, which comprises a $34 cleanser, a $40 sunblock, a $50 exfoliator, a $50 antiaging item and a $70 collagen booster.

Thanks to Somme's event schedule — and some upcoming product launches — the company, which had less than $1 million in sales last year, is anticipating revenues of between $3 million and $4 million this year.

Somme's launch events began last October at Milagro, a New Jersey-based spa, where as many as 48 customers were consulted in one day. Last month, Somme was launched at Adam Broderick Salon & Spa in Ridgefield, Conn., and then at Sports Club L.A. Somme expects to be there when another Adam Broderick location is opened in September in Southbury, Conn.

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