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Gemini, Le Couvent in U.S. Deal

Gemini Cosmetics is adding a little French flair to its beauty assortment. The American firm is working with Olivier Ceccarelli, global managing director...

Gemini Cosmetics is adding a little French flair to its beauty assortment.

The American firm is working with Olivier Ceccarelli, global managing director and creator of Le Couvent des Minimes — a French natural bath and body brand which is owned by L’Occitane — to take the body care line into U.S. department stores this fall. (The deal is only for the Le Couvent des Minimes brand, and does not include other L’Occitane-owned brands.)

Gemini has tested the line in Bath & Body Works in a limited way over the past three years, said Frank Fazzinga 3rd, executive director of Gemini Cosmetics, who works with his father, Frank Fazzinga Jr., Gemini’s chief executive officer and chairman of the board. The Bath & Body Works agreement has now concluded, and the positive American response to the line led to the company’s decision to launch the brand in department stores, said Fazzinga.

“We also now have the ability to take the brand into additional countries and branch out into other wholesale distribution,” he said.

Added Dana Kline, who joined Gemini Cosmetics this past spring as vice president of sales, “We believe this agreement will take the brand to the next level in the U.S.” The products will enter Belk later this month, rolling out to about 30 of the retailer’s doors by the end of the month. The rollout to additional department store doors — including Macy’s, Dillard’s and Bon-Ton — will continue through yearend 2008, when the line is expected to be in upwards of 400 department store doors, said Kline. Gemini is installing environmental fixturing in the stores, intended to give the line a shop-in-shop appearance, said Kline.

“This brand is intended to be a destination,” she added.

The line’s 35 stockkeeping units will range in price from $5 to $48. “This is affordable luxury,” said Kline.

The Le Couvent deal also pushes Gemini’s mission back on the path of what it was originally intended to be, said Fazzinga. “We took a little bit of a detour with the KISS fragrances,” he said, referring to the men’s and women’s fragrances bearing the rock band’s name and images. “We want to expand more in the fashion and upscale area of the business, such as with the Izod fragrance deal we’ve signed with Phillips-Van Heusen Corp. [which owns the apparel business].”