By  on February 4, 1994

NEW YORK -- Del Laboratories is attempting to overtake the professional nail care business, the fastest growing category in the mass beauty market.

Del, one of the most innovative companies in the mass market, is now shipping its new Sally Hansen Professional line.

The 28-stockkeeping-unit line is the first introduction into the professional nail care category from a major beauty manufacturer. Until now, the business has been dominated by niche players -- many with a heritage in beauty salons, such as Kiss Products of Port Washington, N.Y.

The Del assortment includes acrylic nails, nail glue, silk and fiberglass wraps, sculpture powders and implements. Prices for the line, which is currently shipping to 15,000 mass outlets, range from $2.99 Quick Dry Nail Glue to $10 for the Gel Overlay Kit.

"We believe this is one of the fastest-growing segments of the cosmetics business," said Bill McMenemy, executive vice president of Del Laboratories, based in Farmingdale, N.Y. "This is different from the inexpensive false nails that dominated the market in the early Eighties. These are professional quality products."

Research from New York-based Towne-Oller & Associates shows sales for 12 months ended August 1993 rising 11 percent to $92 million for the professional nail care category.

McMenemy, who estimated that the budding professional market "should double in one year," expects Sally Hansen Professional to be the catalyst behind the sales surge. The firm is pumping $3 million to $4 million in print advertising to support Sally Hansen Professional.

The campaign will break in the April editions of Cosmopolitan and Glamour. In addition to consumer publications, Sally Hansen Professional will be advertised in Nails Magazine, a trade publication targeted at nail technicians. Training tapes will also be produced for in-store cosmeticians and nail technicians.

Industry sources estimate Sally Hansen Professional could achieve sales of at least $20 million in the first year, making it the number one player.

Retailers agree that Sally Hansen Professional could have a powerful impact on the business.

"They have a lot going for them because of the high awareness of the Sally Hansen name," said Carol Allman, group director for the Eckerd Drug Co. of Largo, Fla. "Salon-style nails have not been a branded business before."

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