By  on January 11, 2008

St. Ives is offering consumers more customizable skin care solutions with the launch of St. Ives Elements, a new range of face care products.

The Alberto-Culver Co.-owned brand is offering different exfoliators and cleansers tailored to individual needs and skin types. According to David Kroll, vice president of marketing and innovation at Alberto-Culver, the launch of Elements is the biggest news on St. Ives scrubs since the brand was first introduced in the early Nineties. The original St. Ives Apricot Scrub was launched in 1982.

"We wanted to build off that momentum of our apricot scrub — our leading platform in facial care — and bring women new solutions for their changing needs as their skin changes and Elements reinforces our facial credibility as well as our natural positioning," said Kroll, who added that the new range is aimed at consumers between the ages of 29 and 40. "We found that we needed gentler, more customized solutions for those who are aging."

Launching in about 40,000 food, drug and mass stores in March, the five-item lineup, retailing for $5.99 each, includes two items, a Protective Cleanser and an Olive Cleanser, in addition to three scrubs — olive, microdermabrasion and warming. Designed for women with dry skin, St. Ives Elements Olive Cleanser and Olive Scrub deeply cleanses and moisturizes the skin. Both products contain ingredients such as olive oil PEG-7 esters, derived from natural olive oil, which is deeply moisturizing, while olive leaf extract acts as a natural antioxidant to help stop free radicals. The Warming Scrub is a one-step cleansing scrub designed to reduce the appearance of pores with natural exfoliants removing dead skin cells, dirt and pore-clogging oil. The Protective Cleanser offers the benefits of a daily cleanser together with an SPF 10 with UVA and UVB protection. The Microdermabrasion Scrub is designed to act as a gentle exfoliator for women with sensitive skin.

Although executives wouldn't comment, industry sources estimate that Elements' five-item assortment will bring in between $10 million and $15 million in first-year retail sales, with more than $7 million spent on advertising.

Scan data shows that in the past year St. Ives has closed the gap on its sales declines. According to Information Resources Inc., sales of St. Ives dipped 1.06 percent to $86.9 million in food, drug and mass stores for the 52-week period ended Dec. 2, an improvement on its 8.8 sales dip for the 2006 calendar year. Sales figures exclude Wal-Mart. St. Ives executives attribute the gains to an upgrade in packaging and additional advertising support.The company is also giving the Elements assortment a new "modern" look and feel with each bottle packaged in a different color.

"Through consumer insights we found that women were very confused at the point of sale, so we wanted to give our packaging a simpler look," said Kroll.

According to Kroll, the launch will be supported by one of the largest print and online advertising campaigns in the brand's history. The launch will also be supported by an aggressive national sampling in-store promotion. For the first time, St. Ives will partner with Gen Art for a three-city tour, where the beauty spa experience will be combined with art exhibitions. The partnership with Gen Art will kick off in Park City, Utah, during the Sundance Film Festival with St. Ives Sensory Spa & Gallery, where customers can view art from emerging female artists, in addition to receiving customized facials by celebrity aesthetician Jillian Wright.

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