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.

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