NEW YORK -- Richard Barrie is trying to broaden the appeal of its newly acquired Muelhens fragrance brands by adding a toiletries twist.
Within the next year, the company plans to add personal care products such as deodorants, bath and shower gels and shaving gel as line extensions to its Moments by Priscilla Presley and 4711 fragrances.
"We want to grow the company into the toiletries end of the market," said Richard Barrie, president. "We'd like to diversify into products that are sold in everyday tonnage rather than limiting ourselves to fragrances, which are a seasonal market and are really only special occasion usages and purchases.
"If we get more into toiletries, this way we will have products to ship out during the slow fragrance seasons."
But the company is not turning its back on the fine fragrance business. Next year, it plans to launch a Baryshnikov for Women scent and is considering developing a line of Priscilla Presley treatment products for an infomercial.
Richard Barrie signed an agreement with Muelhens, Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of Muelhens KG of Cologne, Germany, on Dec. 14 to become the American distributor of the company's moderate-priced brands.
The arrangement also calls for Richard Barrie to take over a portion of the Muelhen's manufacturing and sales facilities in Orange, Conn.
At the same time, the company raised $6.6 million from a private placement of securities, Barrie said, to put added spending power behind the new brands and Barrie's existing fragrances, Misha for women and Baryshnikov for men.
According to Barrie, the two brands together had a wholesale volume of $5.5 million last year.
With the addition of the Muelhens products, Barrie has now quadrupled the number of its brands to eight. The new lineup is: Moments and Experiences, both by Priscilla Presley; 4711; Payot cosmetics and treatment; a Gabriela Sabatini signature scent and her subsequent scent, Magnetic.
It has also more than tripled its sales. Last year, the combined Muelhens brands had sales of about $17 million, Barrie said.
For the next year or so, Moments and 4711 will be Barrie's main focus. During the second half of this year, Barrie is planning to launch three or four toiletry items under the Moments banner. These might include a body lotion, a bath and shower gel, a body spray and a deodorant in the $4.99 to $7.99 price range."Moments does have a line of ancillary products that are sold in J.C. Penney, but they are not priced for everyday usage," Barrie said. "A lot of them cost over $15. We would like to keep this new line competitive with drugstore prices. We think it would be an accessible way of eventually pulling people back into the fragrance franchise.
"Its niche will be the celebrity tie-in and its fragrance [brand]."
Barrie projected the toiletries line will have first-year retail sales of $5 million to $10 million.
According to Barrie, the company is aiming to distribute the toiletries line in 20,000 drugstores. The Moments fragrance is sold in about 4,000 to 5,000 J.C. Penney stores and better drugstores.
A similar plan is in the works for 4711 for next year. But first the company is planning to back the brand with its first ad campaign in several years.
While the specifics haven't been worked out, Barrie said he plansto break print and TV advertising for 4711 inearly fall.
"It's a huge brand abroad, but any sales 4711 has gotten here have been by accident," Barrie said, noting its U.S. retail volume last year was around $3 million. "The brand hasn't been advertised or promoted here for years."
Barrie projected that the new campaign could double the brand's sales to $6 million in the first year.
The 4711 toiletries line is slated for launch next year. The details are not complete, but according to Barrie, new products might include an antiperspirant, shaving gel and shampoo. Prices, he said, will be competitive with other drugstore lines.
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