By  on February 19, 2010

SoftSheen-Carson is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, and the leading firm of ethnic beauty products is doing what it can to reinforce its image in the market. Beginning this month, stores will begin to display specially crafted posters at shelf, including educational materials, to reinforce SoftSheen’s corporate identity as the global leader in hair care for people of color. The creative elements will be used in both retail chains and beauty and barber stores, the $250 million division of L’Oréal USA said.

While the mass market is showing flat sales industry-wide, SoftSheen acknowledged there are opportunities to drive growth in beauty and barber stores and also in dollar stores. Products in smaller sizes are key, as they present a more affordable option, said Angela Guy, senior vice president, general manager, SoftSheen-Carson.

Hitting dollar stores exclusively are Dark and Lovely’s new 6-oz. maintenance items, which extends to Moisture Seal Shampoo, Moisture Seal Instant Conditioner and Moisture Seal Daily Oil Moisturizer. Each will sell for about $3. Full-size versions retail for around $4.99.

“African-American unemployment increased to 16.2 percent in December 2009, according to the monthly Employment Situation report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Our community is struggling, and as the industry leader we must respond to our consumer’s changing needs,” said Guy.

As part of its 10-year anniversary kickoff, the firm will participate in account specific coupon programs and will offer marketing tool kits to give beauty and barber stores the resources to animate the retail shopping experience for their consumers, Guy added. Additionally, select stores will have banners featuring SoftSheen’s 10-year anniversary creative.

Success in this point of distribution “is critical to growth for any African-American hair care brand. There are more than 6,000 beauty and barber stores across the country, many of which carry a full product assortment. Success [here] contributes to the overall success of the brand,” Guy said.

According to the 2009 Mintel Report research study, provided by SoftSheen, African-Americans represent 13 percent of the population, but make up 33 percent of the total expenditures of the beauty industry.

New items for the first half include two new Roots of Nature products. Beginning this month there’s Nurturing Repair Shampoo and Healing Thickening Cream. Each use ingredients such as green tea, shea butter and wheat protein to penetrate, strengthen and treat damaged hair. The items in line, which were introduced last year, are line priced at $6.99 each.

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