Samy Aims to Sell Line To a Younger Audience

Mass hair care brand Samy is looking to give younger consumers a new sense of style with its new styling line, istyle.

Mass hair care brand Samy is looking to give younger consumers a new sense of style with its new styling line, istyle.

This story first appeared in the February 15, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The company saw an opportunity to target what Sam Maniaci, chief executive officer of Samy Salon Systems, described as the “my generation,” a younger, self-indulging generation of consumers focused on themselves and seeking instant gratification. The company’s signature styling line, Samy Salon Systems, is aimed at consumers older than 20, and Samy Fat Hair is a problem-solution line for people with fine hair. Most recently, the mass hair care brand launched Samy Pure, a line of shampoos and conditioners for all hair types.

“We wanted younger consumers to have a sense of a brand they could call their own,” said Maniaci. “Hair care isn’t a loyal category, but when you can grab younger consumers, you can attract them to the brand early on and introduce them to other product lines.”

Although executives wouldn’t comment, industry sources estimate the overall Samy franchise will bring in about $65 million by the end of the year, with istyle accounting for about $6 million in retail sales in its first year. According to Information Resources Inc., sales of Samy increased 8 percent to $27.4 million in food, drug and mass stores for the 52-week period ended Feb. 13. Samy is sold at Walgreens, Target and Duane Reade.

Launching next month in major food, drug and mass retailers such as Walgreens and Rite Aid, the nine-item istyle line includes mouses, hair sprays, waxes, gels, a styling spray and styling glue.

Unlike previous Samy lines, which use the Samy brand name emblazoned on the packaging, istyle does the opposite with the focus on the new name followed with “by Samy” in a smaller font. To distinguish its look from the bold colors used in previous packaging, istyle has a more subdued look featuring pastel shades.

Each of the items has a playful name, such as Just Hold Me hair spray, I’m Twisted curling spray gel and I’m Flexible molding wax. After a three-year break, the line recently launched on HSN in the U.S. and has been on HSE (Home Shopping Europe) since February 2002.

Samy is launching internationally in approximately 400 Super Drug doors in the U.K. with its signature brand, in addition to its Fat Hair line in June, followed by istyle in the fourth quarter.

“The difference now is that retailers embrace [shopping channels] and see the benefits and impact it can have on overall business, as well as the retail business due to the television exposure that builds brand awareness,” said Maniaci.

The new launch for istyle will be supported by a print advertising campaign, in addition to an extensive online campaign. The company also is looking into opportunities that would allow consumers to purchase products on music downloading Web sites.