NEW YORK — After years of catering to Manhattan’s top beauties, skin care salon owner Tracie Martyn is working on a different wrinkle of her business: outside distribution.
While Martyn and her business partner, Marius Morariu, have been concocting skin care remedies in their Fifth Avenue atelier for several years, the duo is now slowly rolling out its three-product line past its own salon and Web site. The first outside door, Harrod’s, got the line last year, and it is now being joined by Barneys New York in the U.S.
Martyn began her career as a makeup artist in London in 1982, eventually going back to school to get licensed as an aesthetician. Along the way, she developed the Resculptor, a proprietary machine that uses electrical currents, said to help effect lymphatic drainage and temporary muscle shortening. The machine became the basis for her signature Resculpting Facial, which she began performing in 1996.
Doing a product line was always a goal for the pair, but they were determined to do what Morariu —?who has a nutrition degree and who is currently studying for a master’s degree in Chinese medicine —?calls “a pure line.”
“We didn’t want to do an off-the-shelf private label line where the only thing that set it apart was that it had our name on it,” said Morariu. “Our clients were asking for products without certain chemicals, and we worked to find natural alternatives to ingredients such as sodium lauryl sulfate.” Key ingredients in the products include pineapple extract, green papaya extract and vitamin C. Synthetic fragrances are eschewed for essential oils. “Although they smell good, we’re using the oils as active ingredients,” he added.
The first product, introduced in 2002 at Martyn’s salon, was Firming Serum, intended to firm skin and reduce fine lines and wrinkles. It includes a patented blend of glycosaminoglycans, extracts of red wine, Chilean evergreen and green tea, as well as regenerative epidermal growth factors, said Morariu. It retails for $155. “It quickly became a favorite in the salon — in fact, it was my clients that really were instrumental in getting the serum packaged, as they were quite demanding in using greater quantities than I was providing at the time,” added Martyn, whose client list is said to include Diane von Furstenberg, Madonna, Liv Tyler and Susan Sarandon.Firming Serum was followed by Enzyme Exfoliant, designed to gently slough off dead skin cells and lighten sun damage and hyperpigmentation with a blend of botanical skin lighteners, retailing for $85, and Amla Purifying Cleanser, a deep cleanser that is also intended to exfoliate, reduce redness and reduce the appearance of fine lines. It retails for $60.
Global retail sales for the three are estimated at about $3 million to $5 million yearly. The line is currently available in about eight doors worldwide, and also is continuing to expand into new doors.
Bettina O’Neill, vice president and divisional merchandise manager for beauty at Barneys New York, began stocking the line this spring in selected doors. “Tracie Martyn is one of our fastest-growing treatment lines —?it’s amazing that it does such a tremendous volume when it is such a small line,” said O’Neill. “I can’t keep it on the shelves — the quality of the products is incredible. We’re delighted to have the line.”
Martyn and Morariu hope to keep that word-of-mouth endorsement going as they formulate the next products in the line. “We eventually would love to offer products that target every skin challenge,” said Morariu, noting that the pair have ideas for at least 15 more products ready to go, which they hope will be rolled out over the next two years.
Although Morariu concedes that the process could move more quickly if the pair sold to a larger firm, they’re determined to keep control over the line. “We’ve been approached by big companies to do lines, but we want to keep our control,” he said. “We’re passionate about our vision.”
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