By and  on January 18, 2008

With origins tracing back to Italian aristocracy, prestige brand Borghese is entering the mass market with the introduction of its first hand, foot and nail items created with the help of the company's licensing partner, Del Laboratories.

"We developed a strong bond and partnership with Georgette Mosbacher [Borghese's chief executive officer and president] that aligns itself with Del's thinking," said Harvey Alstodt, president of Del Laboratories, adding that he had been looking to enter the luxury business and that the two decided a year and half ago to hammer out a plan. "We wanted to develop products exclusive to us and the timing is perfect to bring luxury nail care to the consumer."

Mosbacher was questioning whether to partner with any company, let alone a mass company, but felt it was a natural step to pair up with Del Labs due to their expertise in nail care.

"I was concerned with losing total control over the quality of my products but it made total sense to partner with them since they're the best in nail polish, as well as hand and foot treatments," said Mosbacher. "I knew the partnership was bound to work."

According to executives quoting an Information Resources Inc. report ending Dec. 7, Sally Hansen Nail Color has a 41.4 percent share, while Sally Hansen Nail Treatment has a 44.9 percent share.

Borghese's color cosmetics business will remain in department stores, such as Bloomingdale's where it opened a new counter Jan. 9, and department stores will not carry the new mass items. Borghese is also sold in Costco, providing the club store retailer with skin care and select cosmetics under the Kirkland signature by Borghese brand. Kirkland is Costco's house brand name. In addition to distribution in stores, the Kirkland-Borghese products are featured on Costco's Web site.

According to Mosbacher, she felt the timing was right to bring a high-quality luxury line of nail polishes to the mass market since consumers are more educated about ingredients used in nail polish and are looking for a luxury nail line offered at a budget price. As reported in WWD last week, professional nail brand OPI is entering the mass market with Nicole by OPI, a brand for the mass market, and Wal-Mart has tapped Italian beauty firm Deborah for a nail care line."Today consumers know the difference between the quality and they demand it," said Mosbacher.

According to industry sources, the Borghese and Del franchise is estimated to bring in $40 million dollars in retail sales over the next few years.

With about 66 hand, foot and nail products, each item in the new lineup contains Borghese's Acqua di Vita Living Water Complex, a water from thermal springs in Italy known for its nutrients and healing powers. Certain nail formulas use micronized gemstones to help strengthen the nails, while the skin care items use essential oils to help replenish and hydrate skin. Designed to be free of dibutyl phthalate, toluene and formaldehyde, the 48 nail polish shades meet the new regulations, where states are starting to regulate the use of dibutyl phthalate, an ingredient used to increase flexibility in nail polishes that is suspected of interfering with the endocrine system.

Del Laboratories has already begun removing it from all of its nail formulas. The company has plans to update and change its colors twice a year, said Alstodt. Items retail for $9 for nail treatments to $20 for a brightening hand serum.

"This line is more than just color — it's a full treatment assortment, making use of the Sally Hansen heritage," said Alstodt.

Although the company has already shipped to select CVS stores and Walgreens as of this month, the items will roll out to its full distribution in March at select drugstores and Ulta. The company also has plans for international distribution in select drugstores, such as Boots in the United Kingdom and Shoppers Drug Mart in Canada.

Alstodt said the company plans to display Borghese's new assortment next to other specialty nail lines such as Nicole by OPI, Sinful and China Glaze. While Ulta will feature a Borghese set within its treatment collection, Walgreens has set up a display attached to the cash wrap featuring the products in several hundred stores.

"Products are moving great in a short period of time and Walgreens is happy," said Alstodt.

Retailers said they are experiencing more growth with salon products and could potentially reduce traditional lines such as Revlon and Maybelline within the color wall to free up space.For the past four years, Del has produced Elizabeth Arden's nail color collection, which is still distributed in salons.

The new print advertising campaign will launch in consumer and professional magazines, targeting consumers and nail care professionals.

Borghese is looking to expand the brand into more categories and items, in addition to potentially adding a manicurist to represent the brand in the future, said Alstodt.

As part of the new acquisition where Coty Inc. was acquired by Del Laboratories, Coty Inc. will inherit the Borghese brand. According to Alstodt, Coty was interested in Del Labs due to the growth in brands like Sally Hansen and N.Y.C. New York Color.

"They needed to move into the color cosmetic world and Del Laboratories gives them a large platform for them to grow into a major beauty company," said Alstodt. "Due to the size and strength of Coty, we'll be able to reach a new plateau."

Alstodt sees new growth opportunities for the Del brands internationally through the new partnerships.

"This opens a new door for us to grow internationally and into other product categories sooner than we anticipated," said Alstodt.

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