By  on July 3, 2007

LONDON — Milbar Laboratories has set its sights on the luxury treatment market.

The East Haven, Conn., manufacturer, which produces cosmeceuticals for dermatologists and plastic surgeons, introduced its own antiaging line, dubbed M Lab, in February.

Carried exclusively at Harrods department store here, the five-unit line sits at the higher end of the prestige segment, with a 30-ml. serum retailing for 250 pounds, or $502 at current exchange.

"It was a private research project to find out what we could formulate if we had no limitations," explained Truitt Bell, Milbar Laboratories' president and chief executive officer. "We didn't interfere [with the research work] for two years and then we were staggered by the results"

Milbar's research and development labs came up with blends featuring high levels of active ingredients held in an antiaging matrix formula.

Sixty-eight percent of the brand's Anti-aging Treatment Cream formula is made up of clinically active ingredients, for example.

The decision to commercialize the line came about when Harrods fashion and beauty director, Marigay McKee, heard Milbar executives speaking about their research at a cosmeceuticals conference.

"I kept asking questions," said McKee, adding she tried lab samples of the products, which were sent to her. "After four to five days, my skin was rosy.

"I have kids and dalmatians and a 70-hour-per-week job," she added with a smile. "I want some of that"

McKee offered to sell the brand in Harrods' Knightsbridge flagship starting Feb. 1. In its first week, M Lab generated retail sales of 20,000 pounds, or $40,134, and turnover has since leveled off to about half that figure.

"The good news is, trade is now regular and it has return customers," she said.

In addition to the brand's current lineup, which comprises Anti-aging Treatment Cream, Anti-aging Treatment Serum, Anti-aging Day Treatment SPF 15, Anti-aging Cleanser and Anti-aging Toner, additional products, including an eye product and a body treatment cream, will bow later this year.

Bell said Milbar currently doesn't have plans to roll the line out elsewhere.

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