Natura Bisse Focusing on Spa

IRVING, Tex. — Natura Bisse is going back to its pampered roots — the spa.

The company is extending U.S. distribution of its luxury skin treatments beyond retailers to spas and salons, which comprise its only clientele in Spain. This month, Natura began selling through Bay Hill Spa in Orlando, Fla., and in July, the Ritz Carlton Spa in San Juan, Puerto Rico, began featuring its treatments and retail products.

Introduced to the U.S. by Neiman Marcus in 1995, Natura Bisse currently counts 75 doors in the U.S., including all 35 Neiman Marcus stores, plus Bergdorf Goodman and Barneys New York. It also sells to 40 doors in Mexico, including the Palacios Hierro upscale chain in Mexico City and the One and Only spa in Los Cabos.

“Our background in Spain is in professional salons — we sell to almost 8,000 in Spain,” explained Veronica Fisas, chief executive officer of North American operations, noting that facials are an integral part of feminine Spanish culture. “We are not in retail stores there — only those that have a facial room. We have 70 stockkeeping units that we sell at retail, but we have 200 sku’s that we sell to professionals.”

The company initially took the retail route in the U.S. because the spa business was not well developed, and the idea of routine facial treatments was a new concept in the U.S. But in the last seven years, Fisas pointed out, the spa business has grown 20 to 30 percent every year.

“We want to concentrate and pick really well-trained spas and be their signature facial,” noted Fisas, who is the daughter of company founder Ricardo Fisas. “Next year, we will open several, and at the most we are looking at opening 20.”

In addition to having the ability to sell more products, professional salons are an easier sell for Natura because they require less staff training than specialty stores. Natura employs 15 account executives and an equal number of aestheticians who teach store employees and hold free clinics for customers at accounts throughout North America.

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