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Balmain Targets Young Set With Balmya

PARIS — With its new women’s fragrance this fall, Balmya, Parfums Balmain is plotting a youthquake.<br><br>"We want to show women that Balmain can be young and modern," explained Delphine Palatin, marketing manager at Parfums Balmain. She...

PARIS — With its new women’s fragrance this fall, Balmya, Parfums Balmain is plotting a youthquake.

“We want to show women that Balmain can be young and modern,” explained Delphine Palatin, marketing manager at Parfums Balmain. She added that this strategy is in line with the direction of its ready-to-wear division, which has had a new designer — Laurent Mercier — since December 2001.

“[We need] to give the brand a younger image,” agreed Gerard Pichon-Varin, managing director at Parfums Balmain. “Balmain is sometimes considered a little old; Balmya is a way to rejuvenate the brand.” Whereas most of Balmain’s other seven fragrances have a following among the 35- to 50-year-old set, Balmya targets 25- to 40-year-olds.

Company executives would not discuss figures, but industry sources estimate the new scent could ring up about $980,000 in wholesale volume in its first year in France. All dollar figures are translated from euros using current conversion rates.

Balmya’s packaging, designed by Alban Behagle, juxtaposes straight and curvaceous lines. The two-toned, pink-and-yellow bottle is rounded and topped with a rectangular cap — silver-colored for the eau de toilette and gold-colored for the eau de parfum.

Balmya’s oriental woody floral juice was concocted by Takasago’s Alexandra Jouet and Jean Jacques. It features top notes of angelica seed, frosted bergamot, violet leaf and passion fruit. Heart notes include jasmine and vanilla orchid, while base notes count iris petals, white sandalwood and cashmere wood among them.

The scent will be launched worldwide in mid-October, except for the U.S., which is expected to start selling Balmya in 2003.

Parfums Balmain is estimated to have earmarked a $490,000 ad budget for France at launch.

Double-page advertisements for the scent will break in November magazine issues. There will also be point-of-sale materials, plus 400,000 samples.

The Balmya line will include a 50-ml. eau de parfum spray, 50- and 100-ml. eau de toilette sprays and a 200-ml. body milk, which will retail for $57, $47, $68 and $28.50, respectively, in France.

Parfums Balmain expects new products, such as Balmya, to drive future volume.

This story first appeared in the July 8, 2002 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

“In four years, new fragrances will represent 70 percent of our sales, with existing fragrances representing 30 percent,” said Pichon-Varin, who added that a men’s fragrance is planned for next year.

Balmain fragrances currently ring up $4.9 million in wholesale volume annually, said Pichon-Varin.

However, with new products and a revamped distribution network — which includes upping the reach to 100 countries, from the 30 today — the company aims to push sales to $19.6 million by 2006.