NEW YORK — Jafra Cosmetics is on the block.

Its owner, Clayton Dubilier and Rice, a New York private equity firm, hopes to sell the company for double the $200 million itpaid to purchase it from The Gillette Co. in 1998.

A direct-selling firm lesser known than rivals Avon and Mary Kay, Jafra was founded in 1956 by Jan and Frank Day at their home in Malibu, Calif. Now, there are approximately 400,000 consultants globally, and 80,000 of them work in the U.S. The majority reside in California, followed by Texas, New York and New Jersey.

The company claims a large Hispanic business in the U.S., with more Hispanic clients than non-Hispanic clients. Out of the 80,000 Jafra customers Stateside, approximately 45,000 of them are Hispanic. Consultants are also available worldwide in 25 countries.

In 2001, the firm reported sales of $380 million with $80 million of that coming from the U.S.

Jafra already offers cosmetics, skin care, body care and spa products and, in September, will branch into hair care for the first time. To do so, Jafra will join forces with hairstylist Kevin Charles, who has a salon in the Four Seasons Biltmore Hotel in Santa Barbara, Calif.

This month, Jafra is introducing the "Define Your Body" body treatment, a four-item line that includes a stretch mark corrector, cellulite treatment, body toning creme and bust-firming serum.

The company targets customers 30 to 50 years old. There are a number of ways that Jafra reaches its clients. Every two months, consultants distribute the latest company brochures and classes are held, also known as buying parties, where a client invites friends over for a beauty demonstration and to sample and order products. Jafra also uses event marketing, which includes setting up booths at events and trade shows.

Some of Jafra’s more popular items include Royal Jelly Milk Balm, a facial moisturizer, and Royal Almond, a body moisturizer. The Intensive Retinol Treatment is a new product that has received a lot of positive feedback, noted Lorna Paxton, senior manager of marketing, general division at Jafra. Other favorite items, she said, include its Elasticity Recovery Hydragel and the Home Spa Collection.

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