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Skinfix Plans Expansion in U.S. Market

The natural brand arrived in the U.S. last month at C.O. Bigelow and is pressing forward, with additional American distribution expected next year.

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People with skin problems are everywhere, and Skinfix, a natural brand that specializes in addressing eczema, chafing, dryness, rashes, redness and more, is expanding to reach them.

This story first appeared in the January 3, 2014 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Skinfix’s roots are in England, where a Yorkshire merchant named Thomas Dixon originally concocted its formulas in 1850, and is based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the home of Dixon’s great-great-granddaughter Karen Warner, who in 2006 assembled those formulas into the Skinfix line. Now owned by Amy Gordinier-Regan, a beauty industry veteran who has held posts at L’Oréal, Space NK, Jo Malone and Coty, Skinfix arrived in the U.S. last month at C.O. Bigelow and is pressing forward, with additional American distribution expected next year.

Even before it entered retail in the U.S., Americans suffering from skin issues were finding Skinfix. Gordinier-Regan noted, “Most of our online purchasers are Americans, so we have a growing base of consumers in the U.S.” Francine Krenicki, who joined Skinfix as vice president of product development last year after stints in product development at brands such as La Mer, Frédéric Fekkai and Avon, stressed, “These conditions are so global. It’s really a huge problem.”

Skinfix has four products: Body Repair Balm, Rapid Repair Balm, Diaper Rash Balm and Gentle Eczema Balm. The former two adult products are priced at $18.50 for 2 oz. and $33 for 4 oz., and the latter two baby products are priced at $9.50 for 2 oz. and $17.50 for 4 oz., and $20 for 2 oz. and $38 for 4 oz. Body Repair is Skinfix’s best-selling product.

Upon taking over Skinfix in 2012, Gordinier-Regan set out to repackage the brand to make sure its message was clear and targeted. With assistance from Shari Creed of Creed Strategic Imaging, Skinfix transitioned from a brand that appeared made for apothecaries only to having a wider appeal with sleek tubes and a speech bubble logo. The logo reinforces that “when people try Skinfix, they tell other people,” said Gordinier-Regan. “It has quite a following throughout Canada, and it’s all been through word of mouth.”

In Canada, Skinfix is available at 4,000 doors, including Shoppers Drug Mart, Loblaws, Sobeys and Lawtons. It competes with the likes of Eucerin and Aveeno, and depending on the store, has been placed in skin-care and baby aisles. This year, Gordinier-Regan said Skinfix is on track to generate $6 million in revenues. If the brand gains momentum in the U.S., she continued, “It could surpass that very quickly.”

Skinfix is aiming at prestige beauty specialty and pharmacy chains to enhance its American retail presence next year. Gordinier-Regan, however, didn’t rule out the brand heading into the U.S. mass market in the future. She views sampling as a critical vehicle to raise awareness of the brand and lift retail performance. In Canada, Skinfix doled out some 300,000 samples this year, which Gordinier-Regan said resulted in a “massive bump” in sales. The brand is starting to sample in the U.S. with Birchbox in the first quarter of 2014.

Skinfix has a tight product collection at the moment, but it will swell soon. A sports balm is in the works, and Krenicki mentioned that skin problems associated with diabetes are an area that Skinfix could tackle possibly as early as next year. “While eczema is our main focus now, there are a lot of other categories we can grow into where people need their skin healed. There’s so much going on from the neck down that skin-care brands aren’t really addressing,” she said. “We are the experts in irritated skin, so everything we formulate going forward will have that in mind.”

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