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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.

This story first appeared in the June 7, 2005 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

In addition to expanding its distribution base, Somme is gearing up for a trio of product launches, including an eye cream, which is set to be launched in August; a neck-and-decolletage firming cream, set to bow early next year, and a firming body lotion. While it’s too early for precise details on these items, they are expected to feature a combination of vitamins A, C and E; alpha- and beta-hydroxy acids, and Somme’s proprietary MDT 5 complex, an ingredient that purportedly aids in the absorption of active ingredients.

Somme products are now carried in 50 locations, double the brand’s distribution of two years ago. Somme also is carried in a handful of retail stores such as Studio at Fred Segal in Los Angeles and at 4510 in Dallas. Mas believes expansion of Somme’s distribution network could eventually top out at 200 doors in the U.S., most of which would be upscale spas.
— Matthew W. Evans

New Scent for Cerruti
PARIS — Cerruti is bolstering its fragrance wardrobe with Cerruti 1881 Collection, a flanker scent for its Cerruti 1881 women’s classic.

“It’s more sensual and more sophisticated than the classic, which is more about natural values,” said Celine Bouillet, marketing manager for France and Belgium at the Unilever-owned beauty license. As reported, Coty Inc. recently signed a deal to acquire Unilever’s prestige fragrance business, which includes licenses for the Cerruti, Calvin Klein, Vera Wang, Chloe and Karl Lagerfeld designer fragrance brands.

The 1881 Collection juice, packaged in a burgundy-hued version of the original’s oval, salmon pink-colored bottle, was developed by Rodrigo Flores-Roux and Yann Vasnier of Quest International. The fragrance features top notes of Sicilian mandarin and Corregiolo olive leaf; heart notes of Sangiovese grapes and iris from Florence, and base notes of cypress from Tuscany and patchouli.

The eau de parfum will be available in 30-, 50- and 100-ml. sprays that will sell in France for 39 euros, 53.50 euros and 73 euros, or $47.85, $65.65 and $89.57 at current exchange, respectively. An ancillary line includes a body milk and shower gel.

Cerruti 1881 Collection will hit shelves in France in late August, and in Italy, Germany and the U.K. in September. The launch will be supported by a single-page advertising campaign featuring the scent bottle surrounded by fabric, as if it were in a jewelry box.
— Brid Costello