By  on February 16, 2006

NEW YORK — It's not only rock 'n' roll to Gemini Cosmetics.

While the beauty marketer signed hard-rock band KISS to a fragrance deal last week, Gemini also has twin projects in the works. It has inked a deal to distribute mass giant Revlon's prestige fragrance, which is due this summer, and it plans to launch a new Tommy Bahama fragrance, Very Cool, in spring.

The company's founder, president and chief executive officer Neil Katz, said Revlon came to the conclusion the brand had to reestablish itself in the department store business after an absence of more than a decade. "Revlon's worked very hard in creating a brand," said Katz. "They wanted to go back into department stores to be that leader again, and I think the most appropriate way is through the fragrance route."

The new fragrance, scheduled to be launched in July, will carry the Revlon name on the packaging and is intended for full department store distribution, at retailers including Macy's, Belk and Carson Pirie Scott, for a total of about 2,000 doors.

"A brand without Revlon's name on it wouldn't make any sense," said Katz. "Trade and market professionals [apply] a demarcation line, but consumers don't read it like that. The consumer sees the beautiful Revlon advertising with all the celebrities and, to them, they're buying a prestige product because it's a heavily advertised product — whether it's Halle Berry or Salma Hayek. Customers share channels and have always purchased both mass and prestige beauty products. Consumers who buy Revlon products in the mass market buy fragrances in department stores. They're going to understand it's not only a brand for success, but that Revlon intends on sustaining and growing it to build on the business."

Katz said Revlon is looking for a long-term strategy since it would like to grow within the prestige category. According to Katz, Revlon has the ability to make this launch "explosive" because of the finances behind the fragrance. Revlon will launch a strong advertising campaign with television, print and in-store programs.

Meanwhile, Katz has plans of his own — namely expanding Gemini's Tom­my Bahama franchise in April by launching Very Cool, a lighter scent duo. On the men's side is a fresh masculine scent with a mint mojito accord, while the women's fragrance contains more citrus with top notes of tangerine, clementine and pink pomelo. Both fragrances were created by Firmenich.In the men's line, a 1.7-oz. cologne will be priced at $45 and a 3.4-oz. version will be $65. There also will be a 6.7-oz. moisturizing balm for $30 and a 2.5-oz. deodorant for $18. The women's line will consist of a 3.4-oz. eau de parfum for $75 and a 1.7-oz. version for $55. There is a 6.7-oz. perfumed body lotion for $40 and a 6.7-oz. perfumed bath and shower gel for $32. Each purchase of Very Cool will include a 0.5-oz. spray of the original Tommy Bahama fragrance in a leather travel case that has a retail value of $37.50.

The Very Cool franchise is aimed at "youthful" consumers, according to Katz, specifically thirtysomethings.

Like the apparel brand, the Tommy Bahama fragrance franchise attracts more of a male business — men account for 60 percent of sales.

Very Cool for Men looked to the liquor industry for packaging inspiration. The bottle has a similar appearance to a bottle of Patron tequila, Katz noted, featuring a "clearer, bubbly look with a cork top." To give the women's packaging a younger feel, the team used an ocean-like, light-blue glass bottle, capped in white wood along with a white gold wedding ring. Both bottles were designed by Brandonology's Dale Kan. National print advertising, which will coincide with the April launch of Very Cool, will include dual scent strips for the men's and women's brands in lifestyle and travel magazines including Travel & Leisure, Condé Nast Traveler, Golf Digest and Wine Spectator.

Katz's Tommy Bahama brand has struggled in certain regions of the country. But Southeastern and Southwestern department stores have had the most success with the brand — especially in "resort areas," according to Katz. In the North, the brand does well in Chicago and Detroit, at Marshall Field's, Macy's and Nordstrom. But it has yet to catch on in most of the Northeast, outside of large suburban areas. The fragrance brand is carried in about 1,500 doors.

"The brand does best in certain regions in the country where there's less influence of European apparel and a lot more interest in the style of apparel," said Katz. "Inventory varies tremendously [in different parts of the country]. The brand is high-priced, and yet found itself in moderate department stores."Despite the challenges, the franchise still hit its sales volume target of $25 million at wholesale last year, according to industry sources. With the addition of Very Cool, industry sources expect the business to bring in an estimated $35 million at wholesale by yearend.

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