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Coty’s Earth-Friendly Endeavor: Organics

NEW YORK — Coty Beauty’s The Healing Garden will piggyback off its aromatherapy heritage to launch its next pillar, Organics — one that the company anticipates will redefine the brand’s role in the specialty bath...

NEW YORK — Coty Beauty’s The Healing Garden will piggyback off its aromatherapy heritage to launch its next pillar, Organics — one that the company anticipates will redefine the brand’s role in the specialty bath category.

Organics will be the main thrust of The Healing Garden’s advertising and promotional efforts next year, noted Roslyn Griner, vice president of bath and body for Coty Beauty. The company will begin this effort with the introduction of The Healing Garden Organics Wild Honey later this year.

Coty anticipates the Organics collection will account for 20 percent of The Healing Garden brand sales. And with more scent stories and a facial care collection in the pipeline, the new platform could ultimately account for 40 percent of brand sales, said Griner. Coty would not break out sales, but industry sources estimate the line could reap first-year sales of $10 million.

The shift in focus is intended to revive sales growth. The Healing Garden’s total brand sales slid 7 percent to $41.2 million for the 52-week period ended March 20 in the mass market (excluding Wal-Mart), according to Information Resources Inc.

The Healing Garden Organics Wild Honey is a collection of body care products formulated with certified organic ingredients. “Honey is one of the oldest skin care treatments known to man,” noted Paul Seplowitz, vice president of product development for Coty Beauty. He went on to say that Cleopatra’s beauty regimen included honey facials and baths of honey and milk.

The entry of Organics comes as The Healing Garden continues to move beyond the confines of its original aromatherapy positioning. Earlier this year, the brand — eyeing the burgeoning skin care sector — dropped its Spa Theraphy logo and renamed its skin treatment line Body Definition. It also nixed the tag line “Aroma Therapies for Your Mind, Body and Soul,” for its specialty bath line and replaced it with the more practical-sounding phrase, “Natural, Science, Wellness.”

“We needed to redefine our role in the specialty bath category,” said Griner, adding that the Organics line ushers The Healing Garden into the wellness arena. She acknowledged trailblazers in the space, namely Kiss My Face and Jason Natural Products, but reminded they have yet to proliferate the mass market. Coty, on the other hand, helped carve out the specialty bath category at mass in the Nineties and plans to do the same with organic personal care products.

This story first appeared in the April 15, 2005 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The timing is right for mass retailers to clear room on their shelves for organic personal care products, said Griner, citing the growth trajectory of Whole Foods Market. Whole Foods’ sales grew more than 22 percent last year, signaling consumers need to feel good about their purchases.

The Healing Garden Organics Wild Honey line, which will bow in July, seeks to tap into that same “good for me, good for the environment” positioning.

The line’s packaging — brown bottles wrapped with yellowed, faux-aged paper labels — was designed to have an old apothecary feel. What’s more, a logo calling out the percentage of organic materials in the product formula is “rubber-stamped” on the label. For instance, the Wild Honey Body Mist, according to the label, contains 72 percent organic ingredients. All products are designed to meet the California Organic Products Act 2003 guidelines for organic cosmetics, which requires products to contain a minimum of 70 percent organic ingredients.

The five-item line also includes two products previously not found in The Healing Garden assortment: a sugar scrub, formulated with organic honey and organic sunflower oil for $8.95, and bar soap made of vegetable-derived ingredients for $5.95. A body wash and a body lotion, for $7.95 each, round out the Wild Honey line. Coty upped the brand’s traditional price points by $1 to cover the costs of the premium ingredients, said Griner. She added the company’s consumer research showed that consumers are willing to pay an extra dollar for organic products.

The Healing Garden Organics will follow Wild Honey with the October introduction of Fig & Lavender, a collection that includes specialty items such as a room spray. The company also has an Organics facial care line planned for spring 2006. Industry sources estimate Coty will back the new line with a $4 million marketing budget.

Print ads, which break in September beauty books, focus on the internal and external benefits of organic products, said Kelley Woodland, Coty Beauty’s group marketing director of bath and body. The ad states, “Pretty, Healthy: Why not be both?” and goes on to proclaim, “It’s as good for your skin as it is for the planet.” It also will call attention to the line’s ties to The Nature Conservancy, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the Earth’s animal and plant diversity, to which Coty will donate a portion of the proceeds from the Organics Wild Honey line. On the retail front, the company will do in-store demonstrations. Wal-Mart will reportedly merchandise the line on a four-sided display.

In addition to giving consumers a specialty bath line they can feel good about purchasing, The Healing Garden Organics adherence to the California Organic Products Act makes the line nearly impossible for importers to knock off.