By  on May 18, 2007

Ascendia Brands Inc. is expanding its specialty bath items this fall, in addition to tweaking the Calgon and The Healing Garden brands.

Ascendia acquired The Healing Garden and Calgon from Coty Inc. in February for $125 million. Ascendia expects the acquisition to nearly double its annual revenue, to about $210 million. The deal added two nationally advertised brands to a portfolio that already included Lander, Lander Essentials, Lander Kids and Mr. Bubble.

"We saw this as an excellent fit for us with our knowledge of our consumers. There were tremendous synergies and, from a manufacturing standpoint, it just made sense," said Elizabeth Houlihan, vice president of marketing and product development of Ascendia Brands.

According to Houlihan, Ascendia has plans to redefine The Healing Garden brand's message by getting back to its roots. The company is also considering a repackaging initiative with the brand's oversize visuals.

"We want to make the brand more relevant to consumers with a message as crisp and clean as Calgon's 'Take Me Away,'" said Houlihan. "The brand also appears fragmented with various collections' different packaging, so we'd like to make the packaging more consistent with the brand's positioning."

Ascendia also believes the two brands need to reestablish their own identities after years of blending together. While Calgon is a "fun, young, energetic and vibrant brand," The Healing Garden is a more "herbal and earthy" brand aimed at women out of college who want have more "nurturing needs for their soul and body," according to Houlihan.

"We need to differentiate The Healing Garden even more from Calgon," said Houlihan. "Both brands have gotten closer in terms of product offerings, and they need to distinguish themselves. For The Healing Garden, we want to launch products like warming body scrubs. For Calgon, we want to capitalize on the strong demand for promotional offers like lip balms."

Ascendia plans to expand distribution for both brands. The company is looking to launch The Healing Garden globally and enter alternative retail venues like greenhouses and specialty boutiques where gardening products are sold. For Calgon, executives are currently trying to "significantly increase the brand's distribution" through specialty bath stores like Bed Bath & Beyond to make the product line more readily available. The company is considering sampling Calgon products in hotels.To capitalize on the cherry blossom trend, Calgon is introducing Blossoms, a body splash, mist and lotion, available in two fragrances — cherry and peach blossom. Launching in August, the Blossoms collection will be sold in 18,000 food, drug and mass doors in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico. Blossoms will take the Calgon brand into a new fragrance category since both fragrances are classified as "fruity florals."

"Most Calgon products traditionally have a more fruity fragrance," said Sherryl Zucker, group marketing director of Calgon. "This one has a more romantic feel to it since it's more floral with fruity notes on top."

The Healing Garden will also launch its Passion Orchid bath and body collection this September. While building on the success of its Passion Rose line, the brand is entering a new olfactive family with Passion Orchid. The collection's four items, each retailing at $6.75, include a 3-in-1 bath, body and massage oil, body wash, body cream and body mist.

"The Healing Garden is all about natural and easy scents with its sensual therapy positioning," said Dawn Goldworm, Coty Beauty's manager of international fragrance development. "While following the success of Passion Rose, this is a darker and more mysterious floral fragrance."

According to industry sources, Calgon's Blossoms and The Healing Garden's Passion Orchid range is estimated to bring in $10 million in first year retail sales.

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