AVON CALLS ON NATORI FOR SCENT IN 1995

Byline: Soren Larson

NEW YORK--Innerwear mogul Josie Natori is set to put her name on another item for the boudoir--a fragrance.
The designer, credited with pioneering the trend of women wearing innerwear as outerwear, is teaming with Avon to launch the scent, called Natori, in March.
This is Natori's first widely distributed fragrance, and Avon's first venture with a female designer to introduce a global fragrance.
"I was actually on the verge of signing [a licensing deal] with someone else when I was approached by Avon," said Natori, who declined to name the other companies with which she had bargained.
She said she was at first skeptical about teaming with the direct-sales giant, but changed her mind when she learned of Avon's involvement in women's issues.
According to an Avon spokeswoman, the company has raised $7 million for breast cancer research since last year, and honors successful businesswomen with the annual Women of Enterprise awards.
"When I realized what Avon's all about, I wanted to be a part of it," Natori said. "What's also impressive is they have 1.7 million [sales representatives]--and they're all entrepreneurs.
"I also chose Avon because I think they can provide longevity," she added. "Avon has a network that insures [the fragrance] will get into people's hands."
"Launching through retail has become so expensive," said Nigel P. Mould, Avon's director of global product marketing. "You have to get such a fast payback. We don't have to work that way."
He noted that Far Away, a women's scent launched this fall, was the company's first global fragrance; Natori will be Avon's first worldwide brand designed by a woman.
"It's a milestone for us," he said.
Natori sold a fragrance called Natori Body Applique in the mid-Eighties, but "that was in a very limited distribution," she said.
"But we never license anything we haven't done ourselves first, even in only a small way. You have to have the sensibility yourself. And now Avon can provide the kind of marketing and distribution that we couldn't ourselves."
Natori will be introduced in the U.S. in March with Avon's ninth sales campaign. The company distributes 16 million brochures during each campaign; there are 26 a year.
The fragrance will be featured on the cover of the campaign brochure, as well as on eight pages inside. Scented strips will be attached to the spreads, as well as to advertising in fashion magazines still to be chosen.
Between 25 million and 30 million scented strips will be distributed in March and April, when the national print campaign will begin. The advertising will feature the tag line, "All You Are. All You Will Become."
"This is the most extensive coverage we've ever given to a fragrance," said Mould.
The product will be rolled out to Europe in the fall, and to South America and Asia in 1996. It will be sold in Natori's boutiques in Paris, Manila--where Natori grew up--and Mexico City.
"Josie's got a great name, and we think it will be very well accepted by our consumers," Mould said.
Avon executives declined to project sales for Natori, because the scent, a prestige product, marks new territory for the company's fragrance business. Avon did say the scent has the potential to near the success of Far Away, which sources estimate should do $30 million by the end of the year.
Natori will be sold in three forms: a 0.5-oz. parfum for $60, a 1.7-oz. eau de parfum for $29.50 and a 1-oz. version for $19.50.
The fragrance is a floral, with top notes of peonies, freesia, rose petal, violet and ylang ylang. It has middle notes of rose, geranium and lily of the valley, and dries down to sandalwood, cedarwood, vetiver and tonka bean.
"I've always loved florals. I knew I didn't want anything fruity or citrusy, and nothing too spicy," said Natori. "This is not something where you're going to seduce somebody in an elevator.
"The whole idea was to have something very feminine and sensual," she continued. "The [Body Applique] bottle was black, but this one is crystal and silver. It's more inviting and accessible, on the whole."
Natori noted that a fragrance is a natural extension of her primary business, lingerie. She founded the Natori Co. in 1977, eventually selling her innerwear to stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus.
The firm, which has licenses for foundations, footwear and accessories in addition to its own lines of daywear and sleepwear, is projected to generate sales of $40 million this year. Natori is the president; her husband, Kenneth, is chairman.
"Fragrance has a direct connection to what I do," she said. "For one thing, both fragrance and lingerie are worn closest to the skin.
"What is lingerie, anyway?" she concluded. "It's the same thing--a little instant gratification."

To access this article, click here to subscribe or to log in.

load comments
blog comments powered by Disqus