NEW YORK — Biotherm is charting new waters.

The 50-year-old skin care brand, which bases its products on thermal spring water, is gearing up for an eventful fall, during which it will unveil its first freestanding store in the U.S., launch an e-commerce Web site and introduce several products.

“There is a new era starting for Biotherm,” said Edgar Huber, president of the Luxury Products Division for L’Oréal USA. “The store allows us to express the brand’s identity” as well as “to add substance.” Huber added that Biotherm consumers are very young and love to play in stores, and he “hopes to get some learning out of it.”

The Biotherm store, due to open in October and located in the Glendale Galleria mall in Southern California, will measure approximately 1,000 square feet. “It’s a total cultural center,” said Roberta Weiss, senior vice president of marketing for Biotherm USA, of the mall. She explained that the brand’s customers “span the ages” and about one third are under 25 years old, another third are between 25 and 35 and the last third are over 35.

Weiss also pointed out that Biotherm’s customers are also “very ethnically diverse” and are “represented very heavily among Hispanics.” Approximately 29 percent of customers are Hispanic, almost 20 percent are Asian and about 37 percent are Caucasians. “That is a very unusual mix, and that ethnic diversity mattered a lot as to where we chose to put our store.”

Though the brand is not a newcomer to the retail store arena — it currently has two freestanding stores located in Hong Kong and the U.K. — the mission with the Glendale location is to make the experience different for its customers. Upon entering the store, each customer will be invited to sit for a skin care or makeup consultation. After the treatment, the customer can have her photo taken by a digital camera located on the mirror, whereupon it will be displayed on the store’s plasma-screen digital photo display.

“Her image is going to become part of the store and part of the visual imagery that is Biotherm, so she owns the store with us,” noted Chris Harrison, senior vice president and general manager of Biotherm USA. The visual can also be e-mailed to the customer. In addition, there will be “What’s New” discovery stations, where new product technology and trends will be highlighted.The Web site, predicted to become the brand’s most lucrative door, will launch in September and will give customers all over the U.S. access to the brand, as well as featuring games and downloadable applications, such as a virtual fitness trainer. A separate Web site featuring Biotherm Homme will also launch in September. In a move to further establish Biotherm Homme as a stand-alone brand, it will roll out to 65 department stores in dedicated men’s areas that month.

New products — also to launch in September — will include Source Therapie Yeux, a perfecting and correcting eye treatment, $29.50 for 0.50 oz., and Source Therapie Serum, a similar treatment for the face, $35 for 1 ounce. The Biotherm Light Easy Blend Foundation will debut in October and offers a sheer finish. It will be available in 13 shades, each $23 for a 1.01-oz. bottle.

While executives wouldn’t comment on projected sales, industry sources estimate that the store will do about $1 million retail in its first year and that the Web site will generate an additional $1.5 million. The brand’s new-product introductions are also expected to add another $1.5 million at retail in the first year.

Biotherm is now in more than 150 doors in the U.S., including Macy’s, Burdine’s, Foley’s and Nordstrom, primarily in California, New York, Florida and Texas. As far as new categories, Harrison noted that internationally Biotherm dose have hair care, and though it’s not been launched in the U.S. yet, it could be a possibility in the future.

— Kristin Finn

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