Caswell-Massey, an 18th-century personal care brand founded 24 years before the Declaration of Independence was signed, has struck a spark of rebirth. And it happened on the ultimate 21st-century launchpad — Facebook.
During the last two weeks, the new management team — chief executive officer Robert Brady and Carlos Timiraos, executive vice president of sales and marketing — have been using the Internet site to distribute samples of one of the three new brands they are launching this fall in an ambitious agenda to renew the 260-year-old franchise. Facebook visitors are being asked to click the “like” button if they wish to receive a packet of Almond & Aloe body lotion. The number of like clicks hit 75,000, Brady said, noting that 90 percent of respondents have been women aged 25 to 35 years old, which is on-target for the new marketing campaign. The typical Caswell-Massey user is now about age 50, he observed.
The three brands that will be launched this fall include Botanicals, a 22-stockkeeping-unit line of personal care products containing plant extracts, essential oils and other natural ingredients. The products are formulated in a choice of three different fragrances — fig and bamboo, coriander and mandarin, and vetiver and cardamom — to provide different skin care benefits. Brady said the three fragrances are all based on essential oils. “It’s more about essential oils and benefits; the fragrances are derivative.”
Price points range from $10 for a bar soap to $35 for a Dual Phase Body Oil, which is designed to hydrate, nourish and restore the skin.
The Signature Bath and Body Collection is an updated version of the brand that traditionally formed the core of the total business, which industry sources have estimated at $15 million wholesale. Signature has an assortment of 23 sku’s, available in almond and aloe, lavender and verbena. The lavender and verbena scents are also marketed as stand-alone eaux de toilette, priced at $38 for 1.7-oz. bottles. Other price points range from a $10 bar soap to an 8-oz. Body Butter for $28.
The men’s line also is a modernization from the original brand, which carried the name 1752, referring to the founding date. The new incarnation has a more consumer-friendly moniker, Shave Essentials, which is a 22-sku range of shaving products that comes in three scents: almond for moisturizing, sandalwood for soothing and eucalyptus to refresh the skin. Like the other ranges, natural ingredients stem from plant extracts and essential oils. A pre-shave oil is priced $18, an 8-oz. jar of shave cream is $22, a 4-oz. aftershave balm is $18, a 6-oz. face wash is also $18 and a badger brush is $55.
There also is a limited-edition, holiday-oriented bath and body collection, called Caswell-Massey Pure Frost, which includes a $24 hand and body lotion and a $22 hand and body wash, as well as a soap. But the heart of the collection is a $40 2-oz. eau de toilette. It is a blend of bergamot, star anise, soft spices with a floral bouquet of vanilla orchid, Indian jasmine and Casablanca lily. Base notes include tonka, vanilla, benzoin and crystal musk.
Brady noted that the limited-edition collection is a way of introducing the fragrance. If the consumer accepts the scent, it will become part of the line. If not, it’s a holiday promotion. The management team includes Chad Lavigne, who is designing the packaging.
Another project in the works is what Brady describes as an apothecary-type brand that will reference the genesis of the company when Dr. William Hunter set up shop in Newport, R.I., in 1752. The new line is expected to be shipped next year and it is assumed to have somewhat higher price points and be merchandised in more premium distribution.
Caswell-Massey’s existing distribution amounts to about 1,000 doors, consisting of gift shops, small pharmacies and some retail stores. The strategy laid down by Brady and Timiraos is to elevate the game somewhat by expanding distribution of the new lines into midtier department stores, like Belk, Bon-Ton and Boscov’s. The Botanicals line, in particular, will be aimed at the new distribution, due to its higher price points. Also the Caswell-Massey Web site is getting a facelift. In September, about 100 new sku’s will be shipped. The executives declined to discuss figures, but industry sources indicate that the company’s goal is to double sales in the next two years.
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye