By and  on November 17, 2006

NEW YORK — Horst M. Rechelbacher, a self-described "ecological activist," shook up the salon industry in the late Seventies with Aveda, his natural, eco-friendly brand. Now he's preparing to break ground with another line, one that reflects his sharply evolved homegrown philosophy.

By teaming up with salon company Regis Corp., Rechelbacher has created "a head-to-toe" organic personal care and cosmetics line under the "Intelligent Nutrients by Horst" banner. The joint venture, Intelligent Nutrients LLC, plans to distribute the products to salons exclusively. Glenn Elliott, former global vice president of sales for the Dermalogica skin care company, has been tapped as the new president of the joint venture. A management team has already been put in place.

Paul Finkelstein, chairman and chief executive officer of Regis Corp., said, "This not a Regis venture. We have an equity interest. This is a 50-50 joint venture, and Horst is the person who sets the table. This is his vision, training and product line." Finkelstein, however, is chief executive officer of the new joint venture.

In separate interviews, the partners gave their personal opinions of the joint effort.

Finkelstein explained that he had handpicked 800 Regis Corp. doors that will merchandise the line, including Vidal Sassoon and Carlton Hair International salons, a California chain. The brand will be wholesaled to other non-Regis Corp.-owned salons; it is now being shipped to Aveda concept salons. Both partners stressed that profits from wholesaling to non-Regis salons would be turned over to charities. Finkelstein said Rechelbacher's share of the profits would go to environmental charities — such as farmers and communities practicing sustainable agricultural techniques — and Regis has earmarked its profits for beauty school scholarships.

Finkelstein echoed Rechelbacher in declaring that the line would be merchandised in "high-profile locations with unique displays so that the line stands out" and eventually would develop into store-within-store concepts.

"I am interested in putting stores within stores," said Rechelbacher, who is the deal's founder, designer and educational director. "The most important thing is location," he noted, adding that he was looking at Regis salons around the world. He is focusing on Europe, but also mentioned Hong Kong and Bangkok, among other locales. In New York, he has already settled on a Jean Louis David salon on 42nd Street and Sixth Avenue that could serve as a flagship.

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