By  on May 13, 1994

NEW YORK -- Natural Recipes Perlier will attempt to capitalize on the popularity of vanilla with the July launch of Les Iles Vanille, the brand's third bath and body line.

The five-item collection, which will be rolled out to around 500 doors by the end of the year, consists of moisturizers, creams and soaps, each imbued with a vanilla scent.

Perlier's first two fragranced bath and body lines -- Honey and White Almond -- also fall into the single, edible-note category.

"There is a tremendous consumer interest in vanilla," said Francesco Borghese, president and chief executive officer of La Parfumerie, which distributes Perlier in the U.S. "It may have started first in France a couple of years ago, which is why this product was originally going to be launched there first.

"But we wanted to take advantage of this trend as well, so we're going to launch it here at the same time. Coty already proved that the trend exists here," he noted, speaking of Coty's Vanilla Fields fragrance, a big hit in the mass market last year.

"This goes well with the other two lines," Borghese continued. "It has a natural appeal. It also smells like something you can eat. Consumers seem to like these qualities."

Perlier's Honey line was launched more than 10 years ago, while White Almond followed a few years later. According to Borghese, the Honey and White Almond lines together had a volume of around $15 million at retail last year.

With the addition of Les Iles Vanille, he projected 40 percent gains overall this year for Perlier, meaning sales in the $21 million range.

"We've been seeing some nice, steady growth," said Borghese. "But we don't anticipate anything big or noisy. We'll grow this new brand like the others, in a slow and steady way."

The new line will receive the bulk of Perlier's promotional efforts this year. Aside from a small amount of print advertising, the products will be sampled in-store and will be pushed through special offers in remittance envelopes and catalogs.

"We treat these lines like cosmetics lines," said Borghese. "We'll have our own in-store personnel to sample and explain the products."The Les Iles Vanille collection includes a 16.8-oz. bath and shower cream for $27.50, an 8.4-oz. version for $17.50, an 8.4-oz. body cream for $21, an 8.4-oz. liquid soap for $12.50 and an 8.4-oz. pump version of body moisturizer for $25.

The products will be introduced in Perlier's limited distribution, which includes Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, I. Magnin, Bloomingdale's and Lord & Taylor, among other stores.

Perlier will soon be coming out with more single and edible-note based bath and body products, though this time the scents will be fruity.

Borghese said he plans to launch six lines under one umbrella, with each bearing the fragrance of a different kind of fruit.

"It should fit in nicely with our concept," he said.

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