Simpson’s Dessert: Mass Market Treat

NEW YORK — Reality TV star and recording artist Jessica Simpson wants to expand her fan base, for her line of beauty products that is, into the mass beauty market. <BR><BR>Dessert Treats, a younger, less-pricey version of Simpson’s...

NEW YORK — Reality TV star and recording artist Jessica Simpson wants to expand her fan base, for her line of beauty products that is, into the mass beauty market.

Dessert Treats, a younger, less-pricey version of Simpson’s prestige line, Dessert Beauty, recently bowed in several mass market outlets, including Walgreens, Eckerd and Brooks Pharmacy. Simpson created the new line with Randi Shinder, the president and founder of Dlish Fragrances Inc., Dessert Beauty’s licensee.

“I wanted to make it so all of my fans could afford it,” said Simpson. “If they don’t have a Sephora in their town they could pick it up anyway.” And, while the line is also available in Sephora and Ulta, it is a decidedly younger, simpler version of the original line, according to Shinder.

“There is more of a playfulness to it —  it’s more whimsical and fun,” she said. “[The original Dessert line] was more seductive and was meant to be marketed to an older demographic. This is still sexy, fun and playful, but it’s a little more bubble gum.”

Literally. The line, which ranges from $11.99 for the Deliciously Kissable Plumping Lip Candy lip gloss to $24.99 for the Deliciously Kissable Fragrance, includes flavors such as — you guessed it  — Bubble Gum, Cotton Candy, Banana Split and Lollipop. In contrast, the original Dessert Beauty line (which also includes a spin-off line, Taste), reaches price points of $45 for the Taste fragrance and features flavors such as Creamy (French vanilla and caramel), Dreamy (milk chocolate and coconut) and Juicy (a berry flavor). “The flavors are more clear with Dessert Treats — bubble gum is bubble gum,” said Shinder. While the product formulations remain pretty much the same, according to Shinder, one additional change has been made: the net weights and packaging sizes are smaller.

Since its launch last April, Dessert Beauty has been performing well in specialty and department stores, including Sephora, Nordstrom, Holt Renfrew and Macy’s. During its launch on QVC, the products sold out in 49 minutes during the originally-scheduled hour-long show. In total, the prestige line has brought in $55 million at retail thus far, according to Shinder. And the decision to introduce a version of Dessert to the mass market was pretty much a result of common sense, she said. “I chose mass drugstore chains because young women like to shop there. I also felt that [Dessert Treats] was going to skew younger and should have a broader appeal.” Shinder expects Dessert Treats to do upwards of $70 million in first-year sales. “The possibilities are endless, especially with the mass market,” she said.

This story first appeared in the February 18, 2005 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Future plans for the Dessert franchise include a men’s line, tentatively slated for spring 2006. However, when asked if Simpson’s husband, Nick Lachey, was a possible candidate to tout the products, Shinder was adamant: “It would not be Nick — he’s too involved in the women’s line,” she said. “But we have our eye on someone.”