NEW YORK — Lotta Luv is spreading in new directions.
The New York company, best known for clever, licensed lip products with brands such as Hershey's and Snapple, has a treasure trove of new items including fresh licenses, extensions into hair and new bath and body items. Additionally, the company is revving up global expansion.
Tapping into the celebrity craze, the company created hair products that fit snugly into the Hannah Montana story line. "Hannah Montana" is currently one of the top-rated Disney shows, and its star, Miley Cyrus, has best-selling books and music releases. In the show, Cyrus is a regular schoolgirl with a secret rock star identity.
Launching shortly in specialty stores such as Claire's and Justice are temporary hair colors, hair braiders and hair color kits. The Secret Star Color Sticks retail for $7.50. The kits will sell for between $22 and $25. There are also temporary hair sticks based on "High School Musical" — another huge Disney hit.
"Temporary hair color fits in perfectly with the secret rock star story," said Steph Fogelson, president and chief executive officer of Lotta Luv. He explained that girls can temporarily color their hair to be associated with Hannah, who switches from brunette to blonde when assuming the rock star persona. Retailers expect Hannah Montana to be one of the biggest licenses for back-to-school and holiday. There are cosmetics from Townley, a fragrance from Boom and wigs from Skaffles. Unlike many other young celebrity characters spawned from television shows such as "Lizzie McGuire" or "That's So Raven," Hannah Montana appeals to fans from as young as six to as old as 15.
While developing the temporary hair color stick, Lotta Luv executives devised two offshoot products — a similar color stick, called Candy Color, with a scent to match the color, such as strawberry for red, as well as a temporary color for adults to cover roots or provide temporary highlights. "We found that girls love to smell hair, so this made sense," said Eileen Rappaport, senior vice president of Lotta Luv. The color stick takes Lotta Luv into an older demographic. According to Marie Todd, senior vice president, the stick will be called Easy Streex and will be available in colors to hide roots, as well as blue and hot pink. Although there are prestige and salon items to camouflage roots, such as Roux's Tween Time, this will be one of the few available at mass.Lotta Luv has been on the cutting edge of bringing together a license and packaging. That is the case in a new program with Cold Stone Creamery. Tiny ice cream containers and sliding tins will feature Cold Stone flavors and will be sold at 1,400 Creamery locations. At press time, Lotta Luv also had cooked up a licensing agreement with McDonald's, with items slated for 2008.
Hershey's was among Lotta Luv's first licensed deals. To honor the 100th anniversary of the Hershey's Kiss, Lotta Luv has a lip gloss planned with a kiss-shaped cap. Also, the firm is going more deeply into bath and body with a line of vintage Hershey's packages featuring cocoa body scrubs and bath salts. "We see great opportunity in bath and body," said Fogelson.
Bath and body and collections of lip items are also yielding more gift opportunities, according to Rappaport. The company is beefing up its giftable items including megabalms and collections of multiple products. "We see these items are being purchased as gifts year-round," she added. A key to making the items more gift-worthy is to continue to develop unique components such as gloss in a vitamin water bottle. A very successful Easter program featuring Peeps brand candies will be extended this year.
Fogelson is also confident the rest of the world is ready for sweet lip concoctions. The company has big plans for Japan and already is sold in Canada and Mexico. Fogelson hopes to see international business represent 20 percent of company sales.
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