Luxury skin care line 3Lab Inc. is hoping its futuristic technology and cutting-edge ingredients will gain national appeal as the beauty firm opens new points of distribution in the U.S. and expands its product assortment for fall.
The clinical skin care brand, which has partnered with Barneys New York since 2007, cracked both the spa and specialty store channel this summer, opening 20 Nordstrom doors and three Bliss Spa locations in June. As part of the partnerships, 3Lab’s treatment range will also be carried at Nordstrom.com as well as Bliss’ e-commerce site and catalogue. The science-based treatment range will also pick up an additional Nordstrom brick-and-mortar door next month.
“We’re starting to look at penetration across the country,” said 3Lab’s senior vice president, Robert Stein. “Nordstrom gives us a national retailer, and one that we thought would open the most market and reach a broad customer base. Another area of potential growth was the spa channel and Bliss was a wonderful way to accomplish that.” Executives estimate the addition of Bliss and Nordstrom to the company’s roster will help contribute to a 62 percent increase in annual sales for 2009. Industry sources estimate a total company volume of about $20 million.
“We have to build the brand very slow, but very steady,” said 3Lab co-founder Erica Chung, who noted that 3Lab, which she created with her husband David in 2003, just started turning a profit this summer. “We want our products to succeed once they are on counter, so we have to be cautious.”
As part of that slow, targeted growth strategy, the company is eyeing international markets, where it has either no existing or very limited distribution. The luxury brand just signed a contract with Swiss distributor Deurocos to ship its skin care items for fall, and it also added an extra Selfridges door in Manchester, England. The company expects to open five Murale doors in Canada by end-of-year.
Also adding to the momentum is the introduction of two new products in the fourth quarter of 2009: 3Lab’s $120 Perfect Neck Cream, designed to reduce the signs of aging in the neck, and a $95 Perfect “C” Serum for the face meant to increase collagen production. Industry sources estimate the two products will collectively generate $2.2 million in first-year retail sales.
Centered around 3Lab’s bioengineered growth hormone Nano-Claire GY to help fight the signs of aging, the Perfect Neck Cream is designed to hydrate, firm and contour the skin around the neck. Key ingredients include Ovaliss, which is said to help minimize the appearance of a double chin by reducing the level of lipid in the cells that store fat in the neck; an active ingredient complex called Sepitonic M3, which contains zinc, copper and magnesium, designed to energize cells and firm skin, and Abyssine 657, an extract derived from a deep-sea organism, which is intended to soothe and reduce chemical, mechanical and UVB-induced stress on the skin. The neck cream also marks the first product to launch for 3Lab with a charity tie-in: 10 percent of all sales rung in October and November will be donated to the CEW’s Cancer and Careers, which helps women undergoing treatment for cancer maintain their careers and everyday life.
3Lab’s Perfect Neck Cream will launch exclusively at Barneys New York Oct. 1, before rolling out to other U.S. retailers Nov. 27.
“3Lab is still a very important brand to us,” said Bettina O’Neill, vice president and divisional merchandise manager for women’s cosmetics and fragrances at Barneys. “It’s one of our best-trending vendors and fastest-growing brands. We ended the season with a 16 percent increase.”
The brand’s new Perfect “C” Serum, which will hit U.S. and U.K. counters Nov. 1, combines plant stem-cell technology and two different forms of stable Vitamin C in an effort to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, while increasing cell health and longevity.
The company will also launch a more moderately priced Perfect Skin Set, a travel-size kit of seven of 3Lab’s most requested products including its antiwrinkle WW and “M” cream as well as its Super “h” Serum. The limited edition kit, valued at $300, will retail for $95 and will be carried on counters globally for three months only, beginning in November.
“This economy is different,” explained Stein. “You have got to do some things you wouldn’t normally do to be successful. You have to find a mechanism to get products into consumer hands.”
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