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Coty’s just got to have faith — Faith Hill, that is.
This story first appeared in the December 5, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The company’s Coty Beauty division told WWD Thursday that it has signed the country and pop superstar to do her own fragrance, which is expected to launch in late fall 2009 in mass distribution. Hill joins her husband, country star Tim McGraw, at Coty; McGraw’s eponymous men’s fragrance launched in late August.
In fact, part of Hill’s enthusiasm likely came from helping McGraw develop his fragrance. “My wife and I had a great time just sitting and going through things and working on what we liked the best,” McGraw told WWD in May. “She had a lot of input into it. I took stuff home, we tried things out and we gave samples to her friends.”
When asked in May if Hill would be next into Coty’s celebrity stable, McGraw said, “I would love to see her have a fragrance, and us to have one together — a unisex fragrance.” But, he cracked, it would cost Coty to sign his wife of 12 years. “She’s a lot more expensive than I am,” he said with a laugh.
How expensive? Steve Mormoris, senior vice president of global marketing for Coty Beauty, declined to comment. However, many celebrity deals are structured with a $3 million to $5 million initial payout, with 1 to 5 percent of the royalties, depending upon the star.
“We were looking again for an iconic American celebrity who incarnates traditional American values and fragrance values to the mass market, and Faith fits that to perfection — she’s young, energetic, embraces motherhood and has incredible style and sophistication,” Mormoris said Thursday afternoon, adding McGraw’s scent is now ranking number one in men’s scents in mass market doors. “We see it as another big step forward in an effort to reestablish and reinvigorate the mass fragrance market. Just cascading prestige fragrances to mass isn’t a good solution. We need to provide compelling direct-to-mass fragrances that are appealing.”
For her part, Hill likened developing a fragrance to releasing an album. “You just hope everyone will enjoy it,” she said Thursday. She is currently working on the juice, which is as of yet unnamed, as well as a seventh studio album, which is expected to bow in 2009. “A fragrance is part of what a woman wears, fashion that is ‘visible’ to the sense of smell,” she continued. “A scent should remind one of a place, a time and a person…a pleasant memory. I am inspired by my travels around the world as well as my home. These experiences have made a mark on my style in what I wear, my surroundings (home decor) and the perfume I choose.”
Even in a difficult economy, signing Hill to a deal is not too large a leap of faith. The singer has sold more than 30 million albums since bursting onto the music scene in 1993 — with hits spanning both the country and pop charts — and has five Grammys and countless Academy of Country Music awards and Country Music Association awards under her stylish belt. While her Coty deal is her first foray into fragrance, Hill has been a face for Cover Girl color cosmetics.
Mormoris said Hill’s fragrance distribution would mirror McGraw’s — about 20,000 North American mass market doors, including Wal-Mart. While Mormoris refused to comment on sales projections, industry sources estimated that a Faith Hill fragrance could do as much as $40 million in retail sales in its first year on counter.
Eventually, Mormoris said, there could be synergy between Hill’s and McGraw’s scent brands. “We do believe in their value as a couple with longevity, and their love would resonate very well with fragrances for him and her,” he said. “They both have very established individual identities, as well, and we’re going to explore those first. It’s been great to see Faith working on this project — she has an ability to meld a sense of sophisticated luxury with the roots of country music, as the ‘new country’ artists do.”
“Faith Hill defines all-American beauty,” stated Bernd Beetz, chief executive officer of Coty Inc. “Her ability to juggle a wildly successful career and family, while embodying grace, glamour and style, is an inspiration to women. We are very excited about this fragrance collaboration and look forward to a long and fruitful partnership.”
Besides Hill and McGraw, Coty’s celebrity fragrance stable also includes Gwen Stefani, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jennifer Lopez, Halle Berry, David and Victoria Beckham, Kimora Lee Simmons, Kate Moss, Celine Dion, Renée Fleming, Shania Twain and Kylie Minogue.