By  on December 12, 2008

Heart and passion propelled these two natural-based newcomers to winning positions.


PERSON

Francesco Clark Clark's Botanicals


Francesco Clark’s story is one of success in the truest sense of the word. Wheelchair-bound since shattering the vertebrae in his neck in a diving accident in 2002, Clark hasn’t let his disability slow him down. Currently participating in a Massachusetts Institute of Technology research program at Burke Rehabilitation Hospital in White Plains, N.Y., the entrepreneur also is building Clark’s Botanicals, his eight-product natural skin care line, into a specialty store force. Sold at select Saks Fifth Avenue stores, C.O. Bigelow, Henri Bendel, Studio at Fred Segal and Presse boutique in Los Angeles, sales for 2008 are on target to reach $4 million to $5 million. Clark is projecting sales upward of $10 million next year, and hopes to triple distribution from 30 doors to 80 to 100. His products were originally designed for his own condition—because of a lack of feeling, he cannot perspire, so he and his physician father began formulating items to help. Word spread among his publishing-industry friends and stories started appearing in beauty magazines. Clark, who’s also a spokesperson for the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, was on his way. That’s not all for the indefatigable entrepreneur, though. Clark also is working on a book due out in 2010. The title? Walking Papers. After all, this is a young man going places.
Matthew Evans


BRAND
Yes To Carrots

Breaking into the mass market is serious business, but the whimsical, two-year-old personal care line Yes to Carrots has landed space in 20,000 doors worldwide (with sales reported to reach $50 million) by eliciting smiles and giggles. For instance, directions on the Carrot Juice Shampoo read: “Shampoo daily on wet hair while singing.” The company’s spunky founder and “chief carrot lover” Ido Leffler, who frequently dons orange-hued apparel and gadgets, wants people to feel warm and fuzzy when they buy his products, which now includes Yes to Cucumber and Yes to Tomatoes, too. Earlier this fall, he told WWD, “It’s very important to us to make sure that we’re ecofriendly and that the products are natural, but at the same time, that the products are affordable, because in our view that’s the key to getting more people into this trend,” he said. “Not everybody is going to be able to buy a $60 [face] cream, but a $14.99 cream or a $8.99 shampoo is something that most people can do.” Leffler’s enthusiasm for the carrot is infectious, and his growing line of products seems to fit the bill for retailers looking to dabble in the natural products space. Leffler’s credo is, “Our mission is not to make people beautiful, but to make people happy.” Viva la carrot!
Molly Prior



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