By  on December 12, 2008

Darphin hopes to stimulate the skin care market — not to mention its bottom line — this winter with its newest launch.

Stimulskin Plus Divine Lifting Cream, due in February, has what many consumers will see as a forbidding price tag: $295 for 1.7 oz. However, Beth DiNardo, general manager of Darphin North America, professes not to be worried.

“We’re seeing a lot of loyalty to the line, even in tough times,” she said, noting that the brand’s sales were up 18 percent in October at Bergdorf Goodman. Added Maggie Jackson, marketing manager for Darphin: “People are willing to invest in Darphin.”

Another bold move that DiNardo believes strengthened consumer dedication to the European skin care brand, which is a division of the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc.: rather than expand distribution, Darphin recently whittled it down. “We stepped away from 17 Neiman Marcus doors, and remain in 18, including Bergdorf Goodman,” she said. “We then ramped up our focus on spa and boutique doors, and we’re now in about 40 spas and 75 beauty stores, including JD’s Cosmetics Essentials and Bluemercury and the new Space NK installation at Bloomingdale’s. At first, people thought we were crazy to walk away from some of those doors, but we thought the best strategy for the brand was to be a professional luxury brand.” The brand has aims of eventually being in about 150 spas, said DiNardo.

Speaking of spas, the company produces a professional-only line in addition to its retail line. To aid that channel, Darphin also cut costs of its professional line to spas using those products for treatments. “We lowered those prices by an average of 50 percent in July, which makes us a very cost-effective backroom item,” said Jackson.

Darphin is also available at

Stimulskin Plus’ formula includes soy protein, caffeine, creatine, pseudopeptide and vitamins C and E to lift and firm skin; blackberry, grape and oughton extracts and melanase, boswellia serrata and chamomile, said to enhance radiance and lighten skin, and hyaluronic acid, trehalose and phytosphingosine to offer deep moisture, said Jackson.

While executives declined to discuss sales projections, industry sources estimated that Stimulskin Plus would do upward of $1 million at retail in its first year on counter.

The brand also will launch a new lip balm in January. Dubbed Age Defying Lip Balm, it is intended to be a fusion of salve and antiaging treatment, said DiNardo. It includes plum oil, said to be high in unsaturated acids and vitamin E; kokum and mango butters, said to provide moisture as well as repair the epidermis, and sunflower oil, which is high in vitamins E and F. It will retail for $45.

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