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L’Occitane to Launch Men’s Line

NEW YORK — L’Occitane will become the latest beauty brand to enter the men’s market with the worldwide launch of a shaving line in June.<br><br>Although the French beauty marketer has sporadically launched men’s products since...

NEW YORK — L’Occitane will become the latest beauty brand to enter the men’s market with the worldwide launch of a shaving line in June.

Although the French beauty marketer has sporadically launched men’s products since the early Eighties, the company’s current campaign, a collection called Cade, is its first concerted effort on the masculine side. Cade features nine products devoted — with the exception of a hair and body shampoo — entirely to shaving.

Cade means juniper in Provençal, a dialect of southern France, noted Olivier Baussan, who founded L’Occitane 27 years ago. The line is based on juniper extract, a reflection of Baussan’s fondness for the wood’s subtle scent. Aside from personal tastes, however, Baussan was inspired by meeting whom he claims was the sole remaining shepherd in southern France using traditional heat-distillation methods to extract oil from juniper branches.

“I wanted to keep a beautiful southern French tradition from dying out,” said Baussan. Shepherds traditionally used the oil to help heal cuts and abrasions suffered by sheep within their flocks, Baussan explained. With Cade, L’Occitane is attempting to bring juniper’s healing properties to a shaving line. Cade’s juniper extract is designed to protect the skin from external irritants, to prevent bacterial development and to regulate the secretion of sebum.

While many established beauty brands have entered into the men’s market in recent years, Baussan believed L’Occitane’s time was now. “Men of my generation didn’t use creams, but men of [younger] generations are starting to,” Baussan, 50, remarked.

Cade is expected to reach L’Occitane’s worldwide network of 300 doors by mid-June. In the U.S., the company’s biggest market (France is second), L’Occitane has 86 freestanding doors. Baussan wouldn’t talk numbers, but industry sources estimate Cade will generate first-year retail sales of between $3 million and $5 million worldwide.

The Cade assortment, which ranges in price from $9 to $28, includes shaving oil, cream, brush, soap and bowl; a stick to remedy cuts; aftershave balm and splash, and hair and body shampoo.

This story first appeared in the April 4, 2003 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.