By  on January 19, 2012

With the help of Amanda Seyfried as it new face, Shiseido’s Clé de Peau Beauté luxury brand is hoping a group of new high-tech introductions will create greater consumer awareness.

The brand will launch a $160 antiage product, Brightening Serum Supreme, next month in a bid to ride the rising radiance trend. “The brightening category has really exploded in the U.S.,” said Gisela Ballard, executive director of marketing for Shiseido & Clé de Peau Beauté. “It is really the new frontier of antiaging.” The serum contains a triple brightening effect molecule, an ingredient to prevent new melanin formation as well microcirculation and glow enhancers. Also, there is a Brilliant Color Controller to minimize a yellowish cast. In addition, the brand will be launching its first sun protection cream with an SPF of 50 and a price tag of $120.

On the makeup side of the coin, Clé de Peau will introduce a highlighting Luminizing Face Enhancer in March that the company hopes will become its star makeup product, just as La Creme shines on the skin care side of the brand. Available in two shades, it will be priced at $95 and a refill for $55. “We are hoping this can be our strategic product for global sales based on the concept of the radiance of joy,” said Yoshiaki Okabe, global brand manager of Clé de Peau. He noted that the U.S. market presents an opportunity because the brand’s business here is evenly split between color and treatment. In Asia, 70 to 80 percent of the sales are done in skin care. He added that if the U.S. launch is successful, the company will apply its best practices to the Asian markets, which include Taiwan, China, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia.

The company does not break out sales results, but industry sources estimate that 80 percent of Clé de Peau’s $650 million in global retail sales are done in Japan. At $40 million in retail sales projected for this year, the U.S. is the second biggest after the home market.

Clé de Peau also is introducing a new line of lip color, called Enriched Lip Luminizer, created by makeup creative director Lucia Pieroni, who was inspired by sea shells and dessert sweets.

The lip color, available in 20 shades, is described as a cross between the highly pigmented color of a lipstick and the softness and shine of a gloss. The lipsticks will be introduced in March and will be priced $60 with color refills at $35. The lipstick case can be replaced for $25.

The brand is nearly 30 years old in Japan, but it was introduced in the U.S. in 1999 at one store, Bergdorf Goodman. Since then, it has been nurtured like an exotic garden with a total American distribution of 96 doors, consisting of mostly of specialty stores like Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Barneys New York as well as Bergdorf’s. The exclusivity has allowed the company to build the business one counter at a time with strong emphasis on sales training and customer relations. Heidi Manheimer, chief executive officer of Shiseido Cosmetics America, noted, “Being in less than 100 doors has given us the opportunity to customize programs, [at] almost each counter. We work closely with the retailer to get into what they are doing to attract their best customers. There hasn’t been a one-size-fits-all program. It has been different everywhere.”

She added that one program that has worked especially well is direct mail and outreach campaigns with the heads of stores inviting customers in and sending products. Sources speculate that the distribution ultimately could double to 200 doors. For 2011, the U.S. business is said to have increased by 12 percent. According to sources, the four new products have a collective target of $5 million for the first year.

The specialness of the brand is underscored by its Synactif line of five skin care products that is based on purifying the body’s lymphatic system. Priced together, the entire regimen combined costs less than $1,800. The line is only available in 30 doors and staff expertise is key. A trained aesthetician gives Synactif facials, using warming and cooling compresses and plates, based on the same concept of lymphatic drainage. In Japan, Clé de Peau has 3,000 doors and Synactif only 300.

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