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NEW YORK — Renay Arbour and Annie Walker discovered a welcome relief from the frantic pace of a model’s life during a two-month modeling stint in Tokyo: the pleasures of the Japanese bathing ritual.
This story first appeared in the January 24, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“We were exploring the bathhouses there and developed a love for bath products,” said Walker. The duo was so inspired, in fact, they began creating their own bath products during their free time. “First we started doing bath teas, mixing together different herbs,” said Arbour. But their hobby quickly turned into a business idea and also provided inspiration for their new company’s name, Deep Steep.
“We wanted to take [our passion] to the next level,” said Arbour. “We both had the interest to start working with different ingredients.”
To that end, Deep Steep features 10 different bath and body products, each available in four different scents, and is expected to hit retail sales of $1.5 million this year, according to industry sources. The line was first picked up by Nordstrom in November, and is currently available in about 200 boutiques around the country, including Manhattan’s Bathroom, Lucy Barnes and The Fragrance Shop, and Brooklyn’s Therapy. In the U.K., Harvey Nichols carries the line.
The Deep Steep range consists of a lotion, cream, bubble bath, body polish, foot polish, moisture stick for body, moisture stick for foot, soap, sugar scrub and the bath teas, with prices ranging from $5 for the tea to $32 for the sugar scrub. The scents — Rosemary Mint, Lavender Chamomile, Grapefruit Bergamot and Honeydew Spearmint — are the result of careful experimentation and exploration. “We were very specific,” said Walker. “With a scent like Lavender, we mixed in chamomile, which softens [lavender’s] sharp edges.” Arbour and Walker worked with a team of herbalists, chemists and aromatherapists to create the fragrances. “It was really important that we stick to natural ingredients and to keep working with the chemists,” noted Arbour. “We had to make sure that we had something we can both live with.”