NEW YORK--Now that Sassaby Inc. a manufacturer of organizers, has edged into the color cosmetics market with the development of its Jane cosmetics line, the company wants to take the next step. Since being launched last July, Jane's distribution has expanded from an initial 800 Target and Wal-mart doors to 1,000 doors within those chains. Now the company is eyeing a third account. Next month, the 144-item line will be launched in 600 Kmart stores, according to Don Petit, president of Sassaby Cosmetics, a wholly owned subsidiary set up by Sassaby Inc. to market the line. According to Petit, the company is planning to expand to a total of 4,000 to 5,000 doors by early next year. "These new doors will be both within our existing accounts and in new ones," he said. "We are talking with some chain drugstores right now." According to Petit, right now Jane is about 20 percent ahead of plan in terms of shipments. While he declined to be more specific, industry sources are now projecting a first-year wholesale volume of up to $15 million. As reported, initially, sales projections ranged from $8 million to $10 million, according to sources. "Jane is doing exceptionally well for us," said a Target cosmetics buyer, whose name could not be used, due to store policy. "We are very excited about having the products in our stores and expect the line to continue to do well with this age group." She was referring to Jane's target audience of adolescents aged 12-to-18. The buyer attributed Jane's success to the line's original products and to its value-oriented price points. Each item in the line is sharply priced at $2.99. Jane was introduced with a broad range of basic items such as lipsticks, mascaras, blushes, pencils, eyeshadows, foundations, concealers and powders. Now, the company is planning to expand the line through more trendy and fashionable products--such as One For All, a cream stick that can be used to shade the cheeks, lips, and eyes--in the form of seasonal promotions. "Typically mass cosmetics companies have seasonal shade promotions that dictate a color direction and recycle existing products in the line," Petit said. "Our promotions will be new-product driven. This way, we have a testing ground to see what will work for our consumers." "The basic line is of course our bread-and-butter business," added Howard Katkov, Sassaby's chief executive officer. "We needed to start with that core [of basic products] to establish credibility with both consumers and retailers. Now that the line is in place we will be looking toward newsy items as a hook." Petit noted that these promotional items will be displayed on separate countertop units from the Jane display. "This way we will have secondary locations in stores," he continued. The first promotion, called HipLips, which will be on counter this November for the holiday season, is built around six shades of a new lip item with the same name. HipLips Matte lip gloss was created to combine the moisturizing properties of a lip gloss with the finish and staying power of a matte lipstick. Traditional glosses are shiny and must be reapplied frequently. One shade of HipLips will be packaged in a black vinyl tote along with the company's new Vitamin E ConditionStick lip moisturizer and a pot of Jane's existing Wild Cherry lip gloss. The suggested retail price will be $6.99. The second promotion, which will make its debut in March, will be called Grin and Bare It and will group together four new products that have sheer finishes.A countertop display will hold eight shades each of Barely Lips lipstick and Barely Nails nail enamel, which marks the company's first foray into nail enamel. There will also be six shades each of Soft Shakes loose powder and the One For All shading stick. Some or one of these promotional items may be incorporated into Jane's permanent lineup. "If, for example, Barely Nails blows out of the stores, we will be in nail enamel by the following January," Petit said. Petit noted that one of the new sheer lipstick shades will be named by Jane consumers, who communicate with the company through Jane's Brain, a Prodigy computer network bulletin board that the company set up last month. Jane consumers, voting via the computer network, decided that the proceeds from that lipstick should go to the National Runaway Switchboard, a hotline for troubled youth.
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