By  on June 27, 2014

Korres, a naturally based, Greek skin-care and color cosmetics brand, is making another push into the U.S. with a new antiaging brand, a new president and a renewed resolve.

The Black Pine Collection, a four-product line designed to firm, contour and instantly lift sagging skin, will be launched in 303 Sephora doors on July 11. “This is the next step,” said founder George Korres. “It is going to elevate the brand to a more scientific level,” he noted, adding that the products will also widen consumer awareness of the brand. Korres said the U.S. is key to the company. “The future of the brand is here,” he said.

To tap into the opportunity of the American market while harnessing the energy and development expertise of the Greek operation, Korres has recruited Linda Berkowitz, formerly of Too Faced Cosmetics, as president of Korres USA. As part of the launch of Black Pine, “we are going to revamp all of the merchandising and the way we look” for the existing brand in the Sephora doors, she said. This comes after the company had built a 40-square-meter set [431 square feet] in April in the HSN Home Shopping studios in Tampa, Fla., resembling a Greek herbal pharmacy. “In a broadcast environment, it gives you the opportunity to support the brand essence,” said Korres. He has been increasing his emphasis on the Americas since 2013, when he regained the license for the U.S. business from Johnson & Johnson Consumer Cos. Inc. In February, he signed a strategic alliance with Avon Products Inc., allowing the direct-selling company to develop a Korres business in Latin America.

The Black Pine products contain eight active ingredients, which are designed to strengthen the connective tissue between the skin layers, “and that’s where you get that lift from,” Berkowitz said. “The Black line is our premier product for firming, contouring and instantly lifting,” she added. “You also have antiaging, antiwrinkle benefits, but the primary performance is firming and contouring.”

The star ingredient is Black Pine tree extract, an antioxidant containing polyphenols. Another ingredient, earmarked as a global innovation by the company, is hexapeptide 11, described as a natural polypeptide said to stimulate genes responsible for collagen and elastin production. The line consists of a 15-ml. eye cream, priced $54; a 40-ml. night cream, $68; a 40-ml. day cream, $58, and a 30-ml. serum, $74.

Korres acknowledged that Sephora had sharply trimmed the brand’s assortment of color cosmetics, preserving only stockkeeping units like primers and lip colors. “Less is more,” said Berkowitz. “[Sephora] focuses very well on a limited number of items. If we can communicate really well on our focus sku’s and Black Pine launch, I think it will come back to us.”

Counting the new products, the number of Korres sku’s in Sephora adds up to less than 50, 90 percent of it is skin care. The executives would not discuss sales projections, but industry sources estimate the products will generate about $3 million in retail sales in Sephora for the last six months of the year.

The launch will be promoted with a video — shown in-store and on the Sephora and Korres Web sites — and a social media campaign involving Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Turning to the future, Berkowitz promised to step up the previously sleepy pace of product development, mentioning plans for the launch of a natural enzyme peel, called Petal Peel, in January as part of the Wild Rose product family, and a line extension for Black Pine in July 2015.

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