By  on October 17, 2008

It’s a sign of the Thymes: the Minneapolis-based personal care brand is taking its first step into both the facial skin care and naturals categories with the launch of its new Thymes Essentials line this winter.

“Essentials is a step into our future,” said Stephanie Shopa, co-founder and chief executive officer of Thymes, who launched the brand with Leslie Ross Lentz 25 years ago. The first products were bath salts developed in Lentz’s kitchen, with the company growing significantly over the following years with entries into the home fragrance, cleanser, baby and gift set arenas, to name a few.

Essentials is intended to prove that natural products can be every bit as efficacious as their standard counterparts, said Shopa. “We’re using pure and natural ingredients, but we’re not sacrificing performance,” she said. “Each one of these items is environmentally friendly and dermatologist tested. None have parabens, propylene glycol, synthetic colors, petrolatum, animal-derived ingredients or SLS/SLES.”

Instead, key ingredients include such items as zinc, copper and magnesium to protect and restore skin tone, silica powder harvested from sea algae to refine skin’s texture and tea tree oil to disinfect and deodorize, said Christiana Kippels, chief marketing and strategic officer for Thymes.

“We’re at an important point in our history, and we believe that these products express our company’s core values,” added Kippels. “We wanted to create a collection that brings extraordinary experiences into everyday life, and we believe this performance-based line — not only for the face, but also for the body, hands and feet — does that.”

Set for a January launch, the collection will have 17 stockkeeping units. It is being previewed on the company’s Web site, thymes.com, now.

The body collection includes AHA Body Lotion, $32 for 12.25 oz.; Body Scrub, $36 for 17 oz.; Body Wash, $23 for 12.25 oz.; Dry Body Oil, $18 for 4.25 oz., and Exfoliating Bar Soap, $16 for 7 oz.

The hands lineup comprises Cuticle Cream, $12 for 0.35 oz.; Hand Cream, $18 for 2.5 oz.; Hand Scrub, $18 for 4 oz., and Instant Hand Cleanser, $7 for 2 oz. Each is scented with an energizing fragrance of Italian tangerine, red currant, grapefruit and jasmine petals, said Jill Gerard, marketing director for Thymes.

The face sku’s — each scented with cucumber, tangerine and crisp ozone — are Face Lotion SPF 20, $25 for 4 oz.; Face Mist, $20 for 2 oz.; Face Polish, $25 for 4 oz.; Face Wash, $23 for 4 oz., and Lip Balm SPF 15, $5 for 0.15 oz.

The three-item foot lineup consists of AHA Foot Cream, $18 for 2.5 oz.; Foot Scrub, $18 for 4 oz., and Foot Soak, $6 for 2 oz. Each product is scented with lavender, Italian bergamot, rosemary and jasmine blossoms. The entire range was cooked up in Thymes’ on-site research and development lab, noted Shopa.

The Thymes Essentials line will be sold in about 3,000 specialty store doors in the U.S., including Bloomingdale’s and Planet Beauty, and on thymes.com.

While none of the executives would comment on sales projections or advertising spending, industry sources estimated that the Thymes Essentials line would do upward of $2 million at retail in its first year on counter.

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