NEW YORK — The Healing Garden hopes to blossom in the lackluster mass market fragrance category.

Coty Beauty U.S. expects The Healing Garden’s new scent, In Bloom, to nourish its own sales, as well as to lift the overall category. Women’s mass market fragrance sales wilted 6 percent to $500 million for the 52-week period ended Feb. 24, 2004, excluding Wal-Mart.

“In Bloom interprets a lush garden into a fragrance and transports wearers to their favorite garden,” said Jacqueline Singer, group marketing director, global fragrances, for Coty.

But In Bloom outsmarts Mother Nature. Thanks to technology developed in tandem with International Flavors & Fragrances, the fragrance captures the essence of each flower’s fragrance at its peak.

According to Paul D. Seplowitz, Coty vice president, product development, different flowers smell best at different times, such as Night Blooming Jasmine, an ingredient used in In Bloom. “And the best fragrance isn’t necessarily at the time of the best bloom.”

Using biorhythm technology, The Healing Garden was able to map out the highs and lows of each blossom’s scent to determine the exact moment when the most attractive scent is emitted. Then the bouquet was captured through Living Flower technology to achieve a clean, pure aroma. “It is a modern interpretation of a floral and what we feel consumers want,” added Heidi Richardson, senior manager, global marketing. In keeping with the philosophy of The Healing Garden, the fragrance was developed to foster a sense of well-being.

The top notes radiate freshness, thanks to a blend of cool green fern leaves and fresh ozone, an aroma meant to replicate the fragrance of a summer rainstorm. Midnotes are Pink Rose, Miva Orchid, Jasmine Absolute and Night Blooming Jasmine. A warm and sensual impression is imparted by the drydown of fresh woods, musk and amber.

Initial consumer testing on In Bloom has been among the best ever in Coty’s 100-year history. The fragrance has even stood up in comparison to department store fragrances. Industry sources estimate first-year sales will grow to about $20 million. And retailers said In Bloom’s launch comes at a time when the industry is getting behind mass fragrances in hopes of reviving what was once a robust business.In addition to the unique technology used in formulating In Bloom, the package and bottle are departures for the mass market industry. The box features an art gallery-quality picture of a flower, and the bottle has a concave front backed by another shot of flowers. The juice is a soft pink. The bottle is markedly different from that of The Healing Garden’s Waters, the other premium scent in the franchise.

Print advertising features a model positioned with vibrant flowers and the bottle. Scent strips will be used. “This is about getting people to try it,” said Seplowitz. “We want women to realize this is a scent they can wear during the daytime and not just for a special occasion.”

In Bloom will launch this July. A 0.5-oz. eau de parfum is priced at $11, a 1-oz. size carries a suggested retail of $16 and a 1.7-oz. splash is priced at $22.50. A gift set will be available for $15.95.

The use of technology was key in The Healing Garden’s first premium fragrance, Waters. Launched in 2001, Waters featured hydroponically grown flowers. Waters was flanked by Waters Intense last year. The very sophisticated collection is in the top 20 best-selling fragrances in mass doors, but it only achieved a market share of about 2 percent. Coty executives expect In Bloom will have a broader appeal.

In Bloom represents the evolution of fragrance under The Healing Garden banner that started with body mists in the original line. The Healing Garden was one of the pioneers of aromacology in the mass market.

In recent years, Coty has looked to fortify the brand’s position in what is now a crowded market by extending into other areas. Recent forays into new categories, such as an anticellulite treatment, have proved fruitful. According to Singer, the cellulite product is flying out of stores. And tweaks to the original The Healing Garden over the past two years, including new packaging and the addition of spa products, have helped spark double-digit sales gains for the brand.

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