NEW YORK--Avon is set to enter the natural-product sweepstakes. On July 26, the company will launch Avon Naturals, a 17-item line featuring natural ingredients and a positioning to match. "This is fairly unique within our range," said Des McEttrick, Avon's senior manager of personal care marketing. "The image and the products are distinct enough for it to have its own niche." Avon launched a natural-based line called Avon Essentials in 1992, McEttrick said, but the brand was more limited than Avon Naturals. The five Essentials stockkeeping units will be absorbed into the new line. "[Naturals] is a broader, more competitive entry," McEttrick said. "It's designed to be a complete range of bath, hair and skin care products." She said the products' formulas were developed with natural ingredients for "specific purposes"--for example, lemon and mandarin orange scents were used in a shower gel because "those ingredients are known to be refreshing." Besides the 5-oz. shower gels, the line will include 8.4-oz. foam baths, 4.2-oz. facial skin care items, 8.4-oz. shampoos and conditioners and a 4-oz. skin polisher. The entire range, priced from $3.49 to $3.99, will be sold by the company's direct sales representatives. "It's a basic, simple line that provides a sensory experience," said McEttrick, noting that many of the products are available in a variety of fragrances. Avon Naturals was launched throughout Europe in stages during the last year, and already the line is one ofAvon's five best-selling brands, McEttrick said. The line may not achieve that ranking in the U.S., she said, noting, "We have some very successful lines here. But this one will be successful in America, too. She would not predict sales, but industry estimates have the new line doing as much as $15 million in its first year. Naturals will be featured on the cover of Avon's July 26 brochure, which will be distributed to approximately 15 million people across the country. The line will also be pictured in three spreads on the inside of the brochure. In addition, trial sizes of the products, at $1.99 apiece, were introduced early this month. "The climate is right for this type of product," commented McEttrick. "We did some research, and we had a strong response to the concept."
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