NEW YORK — Just a little over a month has passed since Pavion Ltd. named Lawrence Pesin executive vice president and president of its new fragrance division, but already the company has laid the groundwork for building a business.
Pavion, which manufactures Wet’N’Wild, Black Radiance and Solo Para Ti, all cosmetics lines for the mass market, has two strategies for expanding into fragrance.
In September, it will relaunch the five scents — Aphrodesia for men and for women, Tigress and Woodhue for men and for women — that it bought from Unilever’s Faberge division last year. In spring 1995, Pavion will extend its top-selling Wet’N’Wild budget-priced cosmetics into a women’s fragrance brand.
“There has never been a better opportunity to get into the mass fragrance market,” Pesin said. “Unlike the prestige end, the category has really been underpromoted. With the exception of Coty, there has been a real lack of creativity and new product introductions in the mass fragrance market.”
Pavion intends to move slowly; its first effort will be to relaunch the five acquired scents.
According to Pesin, those brands peaked in the late Sixties and early Seventies with an estimated wholesale volume of $10 million to $20 million. In recent years, their sales have eroded to a fraction of that amount, Pesin said.
Next fall, the fragrances are slated to hit close to 3,000 of Wet’N’Wild’s 20,000 doors. “We are relaunching the brands in limited Pavion distribution to get a feel for their potential,” Pesin said. “As they take off, we will slowly roll them out to more doors.”
According to Pesin, the original scents have been revised and updated but keep their original fragrance classifications.
Tigress, the best-known of the brands, is an earthy chypre; Aphrodesia for women is a floral oriental and the men’s version is a spicy oriental. Both Woodhue scents have woodsy green notes.
All five fragrances will be launched in a 3.3-oz. eau de toilette spray with a suggested retail price of $9.95.
“For now, we have no plans to expand the fragrances into any lengthy presentation,” Pesin said. “We really want to keep it simple so we can stay focused.”
The company is shooting for modest sales in the first year. Pesin projected a wholesale volume of $2 million to $3 million per brand.
“But we think that as the brands get better known, they could each have sales of $7 million to $10 million in 1995,” Pesin said. “And we are thinking in terms of profitable dollars.”
Once Pavion has gotten its feet wet with the five acquired Faberge scents, the company will develop a women’s fragrance under the Wet’N’Wild name.
“Wet’N’Wild has been an extremely successful brand over the last few years,” Pesin said, noting the brand has been tracking 15 to 20 percent increases annually for the last several years.
“Because of its value pricing strategy,” he said, “the brand has actually profited during the recession as people started to become more price-conscious.”
Pesin also credits the increased use of scanning at checkout counters.
“Now that scanning has become more widespread, the mass market has a greater understanding of turns,” Pesin said. “Before, budget cosmetics were viewed more as convenience items, so they weren’t given the space of other brands. Now that stores can see that our turns are as good or better than other brands, we are being given more space at retail.
“We feel that the success of the Wet’N’Wild brand and the imagery that the name conjures up will translate into a fragrance,” he added.
Some details — such as the fragrance, bottle design and pricing — have not yet been worked out.
“Prices will be competitive with Coty,” Pesin said. Coty is a better-priced mass fragrance manufacturer.
The Wet’N’Wild scent will be introduced in 10,000 Pavion doors next spring and is set to roll out to Pavion’s full 20,000-door distribution in its second year. Pesin projected the fragrance’s sales at $25 million to $30 million by then.
“Those sale projections are, of course, wholly dependent on our execution and spending,” Pesin said, adding that Pavion is planning to back the brand with at least $10 million in advertising and promotion in the first year.
“Every dollar we spend on the fragrance will only help to build the color line,” he said.
Last year Pavion’s total wholesale volume increased 15 percent, to roughly $60 million. Wet’N’Wild’s sales were about $40 million. The two-year-old Black Radiance line for black women had sales of about $12 million, Pesin said.
The remaining $8 million came from the one-year-old Solo Para Ti line for Hispanic women, plus other projects.
But while the company is intent on extending its reach into the fragrance market, it plans to continue building its color cosmetics business.
According to Pesin, Pavion would like to add another 5,000 doors to Wet’N’Wild’s distribution.
“We are looking to expand into more mass merchandisers and discounters, as well as supermarkets and convenience stores,” Pesin said. By the end of this year, the company will also have run its first ads for its two ethnic lines.
“Our advertising for Wet’N’Wild is done at the point of sale since it is a budget line,” Pesin said. “With Solo Para Ti and Black Radiance, we have made a niche marketing commitment and need to find ways of reaching those segments of the population.”
While the advertising budgets and media schedules have not been set, Pesin said the company plans to target black radio and print for its Black Radiance campaign and Hispanic radio and TV for Solo Para Ti.
The brands’ distribution will be expanded. Pavion plans to take Black Radiance from 5,000 doors to 10,000 or 12,000 doors in the next two years. Within three years, Solo Para Ti will be expanded from 3,000 doors to 10,000 or 12,000, Pesin said.
“Over the last few years we have been working with retailers to customize our programs with them,” Pesin said. “It is especially important that we do this with Solo Para Ti and Black Radiance so we can isolate the stores in a chain that have an ethnic concentration. This way, the best possible sell-through can occur.”