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Kristin Davis wants everyone out there using salt — namely, Ahava’s new Mineral Botanic body wash line with Dead Sea salts.
This story first appeared in the January 23, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“I have very, very sensitive skin, and the items I love have natural elements to them,” said the actress, speaking in an exclusive phone interview from Los Angeles. “I had a pedicure at a spa using Ahava, and I was hooked. It was such a miracle to meet a company with such a commitment to natural, paraben-free, sulfate-free, mineral-enriched products.”
Davis noted that the Mineral Botanic line, which launches in late February, is created from organic plant extracts and nut and plant oils, and the range is broken down by skin type. The normal-to-dry skin range includes Grape & Avocado, Frangipani & Orange and Water Lily & Guarana; very dry skin’s options are Hibiscus & Fig (Davis’ favorite) and Pansy & Bamboo. For the most sensitive of skin, there is Lotus Flower & Chestnut and Honeysuckle & Lavender. Each retails for $19.50 for 17 oz. and will launch in about 1,000 department and specialty store doors, including Ulta. Distribution could double by yearend, according to Michael Etedgi, chief executive officer of Ahava North America.
“We noticed that there wasn’t a line of natural body washes that specifically focused on different skin types, and we wanted to fill that void,” said Etedgi. “We have developed a formulation based on a new technology using microspheres, which allows us to encapsulate very high concentrations of oils and minerals from the Dead Sea.” The products are all paraben-, SLS- and SLES-free.
Davis recently shot the brand’s newest ad campaign — which begins in March fashion, beauty and lifestyle magazines — at the Dead Sea with Australian photographer Russell James, who also shot the brand’s 2008 campaign. “The water is very thick and rich because of the minerals and the algae,” Davis said. “It’s the lowest place on the planet, geographically, and when you’re in the water it’s hard to move easily — it’s like being on the moon with water. But this water, which Ahava uses in all of its products, gives you the deepest, yet not harsh, exfoliation and incredible moisturization.”
Both Davis and Etedgi declined to discuss sales projections or advertising spending for the Mineral Botanic line, although industry sources estimated that the line could do at least $2 million at retail in its first year on counter in the U.S. Sources estimated that the company may be spending double that figure this year with the Davis ads, to raise awareness for a line the company hopes could become a brand stalwart.
Davis is currently filming “Couples Retreat,” a comedy that involves four couples who travel to a tropical island for a vacation — and mandatory therapy sessions. It also stars Vince Vaughn. “We went to Bora Bora for a month [to film], and I made sure I had my sunscreen from Ahava at all times,” she said with a laugh, noting that the film is still wrapping up in Los Angeles. No firm date has been set for the release, although Davis noted that it will likely be released in the summer or fall of this year.
Davis’ apparel deal with Belk’s continues, although, like everyone else’s business, it has been affected by the economy. “Belk’s is very secure, so that’s good, but things have slowed down a little,” she said, adding that she grew up shopping at the store. “I think there’s a cynical view of celebrities in endorsement deals. There are people who think that all celebrities are taking any deals that come our way. We aren’t. I think the trick is to find a good brand that you love in real life and to stick with that. If you’re not in sync with the company, the deal doesn’t work — especially in this economy.”
And it’s more important than ever, she says, to deliver quality at an affordable price. “It’s not about being the cheapest, necessarily — it’s about delivering quality products for a reasonable price,” Davis said, who has served as Ahava’s spokeswoman since fall 2007. “Ahava does that — they’re not just creating a marketing story. Sarah Jessica [Parker] did it with Bitten [her clothing line with Steve & Barry’s], and I’m trying to do that with Belk’s. It can be challenging to get those designer details in there at a reasonable price. But it can be done.”
As for the question on everyone’s lips — will there be a “Sex and the City” movie sequel? — Davis advises everyone to hold tight for a little longer. “We want to,” she said, “and we’re working toward it, but we’re still in the working-toward-it phase.” And she has an apology for the women of America: “I didn’t mean to get everyone addicted to the most expensive shoes out there!” she said.