By  on August 3, 2007

MILAN — After building its fragrance portfolio, high-end jewelry firm Bulgari will strengthen its presence on beauty counters with a new skin care line.

Fifteen years after launching its first scent, called Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert — which originally was a gift to the Roman jewelry firm's top clients — Bulgari will introduce its 15-stockkeeping-unit skin care line in October in a limited distribution network that will include 150 doors in Italy.

At a launch event here for the line, Bulgari's chief executive officer, Francesco Trapani, said the company's fragrance division has a new moniker, Bulgari Parfums et Cosmetiques. Founded in 1990, Bulgari's fragrance business now includes 19 scents, and last year, it reached revenues of 202 million euros, or $253.8 million at average exchange. Trapani added he was expecting double-digit growth for the division this year.

"We are the 10th-biggest, single-brand perfume business in the world. And we want the brand to become even stronger, so we believe this skin care launch will enable us to do that," said Trapani. "It's important to have not only fragrance, but a cosmetics line, to give the brand better visibility and build on the brand's image."

Bulgari's skin care line will be distributed exclusively in Italy until next year. Plans to roll it out to the U.S. and other selected countries next year have not yet been finalized.

Though Trapani refused to project sales for the skin care line's first year on the market, industry sources say the launch could net $4 million.

Taking direction from the company's lifeblood, gemology, the Bulgari skin care line's key ingredient is Bulgari Gem Essence, a formula containing extracts of precious stones such as sapphire, malachite, tourmaline and citrine.

To create the Bulgari Gem Essence, the gemstones are pulverized and liquefied and added to other active ingredients. The formula is awaiting an international patent. "We searched for something particular to put behind this line and we found it in this Bulgari Gem Essence — from the aspect that it is very close to the company's DNA," said Trapani. "But on the other hand, it is something that has been proven to be very effective as an ingredient."Jean Paul Marty, head of Bulgari's cosmetics research department in Switzerland, said the skin care line, which took five years to develop, harnesses the stones' benefits to the skin, which are said to include antiwrinkle properties and to promote the skin's radiance. "There's been a long story with gemstones, beauty, medicine and magic — Cleopatra used them in her beauty routine, so why not for cosmetics?" asked Marty.

Bulgari's skin care proposition includes the antiaging Preciéuse Line; the Lumière Line, which is meant to enhance the skin's radiance, and the Cleansing Line.

Marty expects the skin care line's star products to be Crème Preciéuse, which is aimed at smoothing wrinkles and priced at 210 euros, or $287 at current exchange, for 50 ml., as well as Serum De Lumière, a luminescing serum that's priced at 130 euros, or $177.65, for 30 ml.

Packaging for the line includes pale pink, blue and ivory glass containers with silver caps embossed with Bulgari. While Trapani confirmed Bulgari will build upon the skin care line, he said there are no plans to expand the brand's offering into color cosmetics, men's skin care or a spa line.

Further distribution plans call for the Bulgari skin care line to be carried at Bulgari hotels and resorts in Milan and Bali. Plans are also under way to construct a beauty cabine in the brand's 11-story Bulgari Ginza Tower in Tokyo, which is expected to open in December. The cabine will offer treatments that employ Bulgari's skin care line.

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