By  on May 13, 1994

NEW YORK -- Ancillary products were at one time simply lower-priced versions of the traditional fragrance form, providing an easy entry point for reluctant consumers.

But recently, manufacturers have set out to make layering more luxurious, by formulating fragrance extensions that are more than just an afterthought.

Whether through items with therapeutic qualities, exotic ingredients or by using new formats altogether, fragrance firms are starting to offer products with a purpose -- items that not only smell nice but actually do something.

It is through these more exotic ancillaries that prestige houses are looking to cash in on the $1 billion bath and body boom that has been sweeping through all retail channels.

At the moment, according to industry estimates, department stores own about 20 percent of the category, which translates to a volume of $230 million.

"Prestige manufacturers have found that the best way for them to compete with the bath and body world is to stick with what they do best," said John Turcotte, vice president and general manager of Elizabeth Arden Spa. "Instead of venturing into new businesses, they are expanding traditional fragrance boundaries."

"Manufacturers are realizing that with a successful fragrance they have a commodity that works across many different forms, and they are now capitalizing on that," said Ann Gottlieb, fragrance consultant.

Gottlieb, however, offered a caveat for bath and body wannabes.

"Certain fragrances are much better suited than others to the bathroom," she said. "Anything with a bright fruity floral top note will really explode when in it hits the water. Heavier fragrances don't lend themselves as well."

She cited Calvin Klein's Escape, with its fruity perfume, as an example of a scent that translates well into bath products. Items in the brand's bath line have the added treatment benefits of sea botanicals, emollients, proteins, vitamins and minerals.

The L'Eau d'Issey Pure Beauty Line, from designer Issey Miyake, is another fresh scent that can cross boundaries. Products from the four-item line contain extracts of algae, amino acids, vitamins, minerals and unsaturated fatty acid to moisturize and treat the skin.

Efforts to pay closer attention to the bath, like those made by Klein and Miyake, seem thus far to be paying off.

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