NEW YORK — With the anticipation of a curly hair comeback, Bumble and bumble is ready with the launch of Curl Conscious.

“It’s like when Tom Ford relaunched Gucci. We want to bring [curly hair] back, because it’s been so lopsided with straight hair,” said Michael Gordon, president and founder of Bumble and bumble. Gordon joked that he’s “extremely clairvoyant” and has a feeling curly hair will be in vogue again — soon. He said he’s seen “a lot of fabulous pictures in great magazines and ad campaigns” that feature curly hairstyles and noted that one of the advantages to having an editorial team is they are in touch with the trend beforehand.

The debut of this line represents Bumble and bumble’s return to the launchpad. The company’s last introduction was South Surf Spray, about three years ago. Curl Conscious also weighs in as the brand’s second-largest single product collection — outnumbered only by Color Support, which launched in 2000 with 15 stockkeeping units. Gordon said, “This is a whole line with future growth of ancillary and/or additions,” and it marks the beginning of an emphasis on multiple-sku launches for the company.

The products will debut in the Bumble and bumble salon here and affiliate salons in October. Domestically, Bumble products are sold in 1,500 doors, of which the majority are top-level salons, with a sprinkling of specialty retailers. Internationally, the line will hit in November.

Curl Conscious is available in two formulations: one for fine-to-medium hair and another for medium-to-thick hair. The formula is based on a moisture complex designed to give hair hold and shine. It also contains transglutaminase, a key ingredient, which the company said forms bonds to create defined curls that are resistant to heat and humidity. Gordon noted the products are “really meant for people with a natural curl. It won’t make straight hair curly — it’s not that miraculous.”

The company noted the products are most effective when used as a regimen. Curl Conscious consists of two three-step systems, available in two sizes. The shampoo, conditioner and Curl Creme retail for between $7 and $11 for the 2-oz. size and between $18 and $25 for 8 oz. The team at Bumble became aware the star ingredient was very expensive after they had already formulated the product. At that point, Gordon explained the choice was to either take it out or raise the price. So, because they didn’t want to compromise and believed the “product would prove itself,” Curl Conscious products are priced slightly higher than the majority of products in Bumble’s portfolio.Gordon wouldn’t discuss sales projections, but sources estimate the line will generate as much as $10 million at retail. Industry sources estimate Bumble and bumble products and its New York salon garnered sales of about $50 million for 2003.

The company noted that Curl Conscious marks the first launch created with the consumer in mind. “In the past, to get really great curly results we had our traditional layering products, which worked very well,” said Gordon. “This is an easy entry for the person at home just to use one product instead of multiple.” To provide customers with proper styling techniques and information on the line, as well as current curly looks, the company is also offering a complimentary DVD to customers who purchase the complete regimen. Editorial stylists Ward Stegerhoek, Max Pinnell and Rolando Beauchamp, creative vice president Howard McLaren and founder and president Michael Gordon are featured on the DVD.

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