NEW YORK — It’s teatime at Coty Beauty USA. The tea being served is white tea, the latest extension to the growing The Healing Garden collection.

Although there is already a green tea flavor in The Healing Garden, Coty executives thought the time was right to add White Teatheraphy.

White tea is getting much attention from beauty marketers and consumers for its antioxidant qualities. And the addition of mandarin flowers, geranium and warm vanilla combine for a new The Healing Garden scent, said to bring forth a feeling of serenity.

"This is all part of our efforts to bring more ‘good for you’ benefits to The Healing Garden," said Anastasia C. Ayala, senior vice president, Global Fragrances for Coty Beauty. She said that in addition to antioxidants to reduce the impact of stress on skin, the scent provokes a feeling of being in a sanctuary. "Consumers are emotionally ready for White Teatheraphy," she said.

According to Kristin Mulvehill, senior marketing manager, white tea is the strongest of all teas and provides consumers with a "sense of comfort." The products bear appropriate names such as Calm Oasis Bath and Shower Gel, Peaceful Haven Body Soak, Blissful Comfort Body Lotion and Perfect Sanctuary Pillow and Room Spray. Unique to White Teatheraphy is a bubble bath soak, which further enhances the "comfort" aspects of the ingredient story. Other The Healing Garden bath products are soaks. "We thought White Tea was the right vehicle for bubbles," said Ayala.

Available on shelves in March, White Teatheraphy is priced between $6.75 for the shower gel and $14.95 for a Complete Retreat Starter Kit. Particularly noticeable is the white-and-clear packaging for White Teatheraphy — a departure from the distinctive colors on existing The Healing Garden items, and an upscale touch for the mass market.

Coty would not comment on sales projections, but industry sources said White Teatheraphy could add as much as $20 million in annual sales to The Healing Garden.

After withering in sales, The Healing Garden is once again starting to sprout. According to Information Resources Inc., which tracks sales in mass-market stores except for Wal-Mart, The Healing Garden sales rose 20.5 percent for the 52 weeks ended Oct. 6 to $51 million. "The Healing Garden is doing very well," agreed Ayala. "We’ve freshened it up, restaged it, added new packaging and flavors to keep the newness." The franchise was boosted by the introduction of The Healing Garden Waters fragrance, which helped lure younger shoppers.Coty officials believe that White Teatheraphy will not cannibalize from existing The Healing Garden green tea users. "The two are very different. Green tea has a very loyal customer base," explained Mulvehill. She said the white tea flavor should deliver incremental sales to the brand.

Also making the garden more fertile has been a move to add more everyday gift sets to the mix. Although dubbed gift sets, the Coty team has found more and more purchases are not solely for gifts. "More people are buying them for themselves," said Jacqueline Singer, group marketing director.

White Teatheraphy will be supported by its own advertising, as well as sampling. Ayala said spending continues to increase behind The Healing Garden.

Coty is also working on new fixtures to create a better ambience for the entire specialty bath department. A retailer, which Coty executives declined to name, is currently testing fixtures created by Coty that mimic the look of a cosmetics pegged wall, with identities created for each different brand. "Right now, bath isn’t a destination, there’s no bath environment. We want to help create that," said Ayala. "It is our responsibility to make the department enticing."

More flavors will be added to The Healing Garden. "There’s still many more ingredients to pick from the garden," said Ayala. However, Coty is also planning to revitalize Calgon in the next year to shore up its sales. According to IRI, for the 52 weeks ended Oct. 6, Calgon sales dropped almost 16 percent. "We have big plans for Calgon," noted Ayala.

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