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Bumble and bumble is weighing in on — but hoping not to weigh down — beauty’s growing oil category. Following a number of successful oil-based skin- and hair-care launches over the past two years, Bumble is looking to grow the segment with a new oil-infused hair care and styling range.
This story first appeared in the May 9, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“One of the things we see in the beauty industry is that trends come, but not everyone survives,” said Peter Lichtenthal, president of Bumble and bumble and Smashbox. “We believe this trend is here to stay because our formulation is based on something real, real technology and our commitment to the franchise is bringing innovation to it.”
The three-piece collection, inspired by and joining the existing Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil, includes a proprietary blend of six oils, and is formulated to nourish hair without the usual side effects associated with oils.
“One of the goals we had entering the segment is providing the treatment qualities of the oil without any of the heaviness,” said Fadi Mourad, vice president, product development and innovation. “We took total different angles, bringing it back to our stylists and tested every single oil to come up with the blend.”
According to Lichtenthal, the original oil, $38, which was introduced in July 2012, launched at number one and remained there for the first nine months at retail. The rising cult product (brand executives count Surf Spray and Thickening Hairspray as its top stockkeeping units, projecting similar success for Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil) has already shown traction in Bumble’s two salons, where it prelaunched last week. “In four days, we sold over 250 pieces in two salons and about 555 in the first week,” said Lichtenthal, comparing the multitasking products to BB and CC creams for the face. “There’s an undeniable trend in multifunction products and the various things a product can do.”
The range, which includes a Sulfate-Free Shampoo, $30; Conditioner, $33, and Heat/UV Protective Primer, $24, is formulated with a blend of coconut, argan, macadamia nut, sweet almond, safflower seed and grape-seed oils. Designed to be as lightweight as possible, the ingredients are meant to impart six benefits, including detangling, softening and de-frizzing hair, beginning in the cleansing stage.
“We entered a crowded marketplace, tapped into a trend where consumers are looking for oil-based skin care and hair care,” said Lichtenthal. “We decided to take that technology and use it and create a line that still reflected our approach to this category, which is a hairdresser’s approach, a styling approach in a segment that’s normally very treatment-focused, we bridged that gap between statement and styling.”
The scent, a blend of fruits and flowers, set atop a base of coconut blossom, vanilla, sandalwood and musk, created by Firmenich, is meant to offer a sensorial effect to enhance the customer experience both at home and in the salon.
“It’s a full experience. Even simple things like the lather and the scent are designed to give immediate benefits,” said Bernard Zion, vice president of global marketing for Bumble and bumble. “You walk out [of the salon] and you can rake your hair with fingers; it’s so much softer, smoother and detangled.”
Although the brand would not discuss financials, industry sources are estimating the range, which enters full retail distribution on Thursday at all 3,000 Bumble network salons worldwide, Sephora, select Bloomingdale’s, Bluemercury, Space NK and bumbleandbumble.com, could generate $20 million in its first year. Experts also predict that the Invisible Oil family will be a top-three franchise for the brand, joining its Surf and Thickening lines.
To promote the line, Bumble and bumble will distribute 500,000 packet-sized and deluxe samples during the first three months of the launch. A $30 limited-edition travel set that includes 2-oz. sizes of primer, shampoo and conditioner, will roll out as well to help promote trial of the products. In-salon animations and a digital campaign featuring befores and afters, interactive content and blogger collaborations, will also roll out in the next few months.