By  on June 3, 1994

NEW YORK -- Generally known in the U.S. as a fragrance house, Guerlain will try to build its reputation in treatment with the September launch of Odelys, a line for sensitive skin.

Odelys will be aimed at women who think they have sensitive skin, according to Patrick Waterfield, Guerlain's president and chief executive officer.

"We see a huge opportunity," added Caren Fleit, vice president of marketing. "Most Americans are not aware we carry skin care and color [cosmetics], even if they are aware of our fragrance products."

Guerlain will distribute Odelys in its 35 in-store boutiques in stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue, I. Magnin and Marshall Field's, Fleit said.

She said Guerlain expects Odelys to account for 15 percent of the company's U.S. treatment business in its first year. BeautÄ, Guerlain's skin care and makeup division, comprises about 20 percent of the company's overall U.S. volume, with treatment slightly outweighing color cosmetics.

Industry sources have estimated Guerlain's U.S. sales at 15 to 20 percent of the company's 1993 worldwide volume of $350 million, or about $52 million to $70 million. The plan for Odelys would therefore be roughly $780,000 to $1.4 million.

While still small in the U.S., in several other major markets Beaute represents a much larger share of the overall business. In Japan, for example, skin care and makeup contribute 73 percent of sales, and in Germany, 56 percent.

Guerlain will attempt to get the word out about Beaute with a national advertising campaign that will break in October issues of fashion, beauty and lifestyle magazines, Fleit said.

The campaign, which sources estimate has a budget of $10 million, will focus on Odelys as well as other Guerlain products, including its classic women's scent, Shalimar, and another treatment line, Issima.

The Odelys line consists of six products: Instant Relaxing Cleanser, $25 for a 7-oz. bottle; Gentle Foaming Cleanser, $21 for a 5-oz. tube; Soothing Toner, $25 for a 6.8-oz. bottle; Delicate Eye Make-Up Remover, $17 for a 2.5-oz. bottle, and Perfect Care No. 1 Light, a lightweight moisturizer, and No. 2 Rich, a heavier formula, each at $48.50 for a 1.7-oz. jar.Guerlain will distribute deluxe-size samples of the products in its boutiques, Fleit said. In addition, a direct mail campaign will offer a "gift-with-service" of four samples in a drawstring pouch when a customer has a skin care consultation.

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