NEW YORK — The Dead Sea, a worldwide resource for its rich salt, bromide, magnesium, potassium and sulfate properties, is no secret to the beauty world. To this day, hundreds of thousands of people visit the Middle Eastern waterscape to float in and rub on its water and mud with the hopes of extracting its foundation of youth promises.

The mass retail industry is making this fete a little easier by delivering to U.S. drugstores and food stores a new line of products designed and formulated with salts and minerals from the Dead Sea, in a wide range of beauty product categories at affordable prices.

Minerals Aromatics, a 45-item line, began entering stores such as Harmon Drug; Bed, Bath & Beyond, Stop & Shop and Shaw’s supermarket stores in April. By the end of the 2004, Minerals Aromatics is slated to be available in as many as 300 to 400 stores, primarily in the Northeast.

K&K Cosmetics of Edison, N.J., is the sole distributor of the line in the U.S. Its founder, Benci Kreisman, set up K&K in November 2003 in order to get Minerals Aromatics to the U.S. marketplace. Kreisman, an Israeli who entered the beauty world a year and a half ago after leaving a career in warfare engineering, always knew about the potential healing properties of the Dead Sea but didn’t know how absent the offerings were at the mass level of distribution.

“There’s a lack of Dead Sea products in the U.S. but it’s pleasantly surprising how many people know about its benefits,” Kreisman said. He added that no company he knows of offers a line formulated for the face, body and hair, either. Minerals Health & Nature Products from the Dead Sea Ltd., the manufacturer of Minerals Aromatics based outside of Tel Aviv, is the number one manufacturer in Israel for export of these products to Europe, Australia, South America and Asia, Kreisman explained, adding that the line generates approximately $15 million to $20 million in annual sales in these regions.

Kreisman, who had to self-teach himself the ins and outs of the beauty industry, from meeting with retail buyers to designing exciting in-store displays complete with testers, has found some ease in breaking through the many marketplace barriers by attending industry shows such as ECRM, which many small-time manufacturers say proves as an invaluable tool to meeting mass’ movers and shakers.“It was a tremendous success,” Kreisman said of the show he attended in February. “We met with 16 buyers there. We plan to attend another of their skin care shows at the end of August.”

Of the Minerals Aromatics line there are products for the face, such as an Anti-Wrinkle Night Cream, a Face Milk, a Face Toner, a Purifying Mud Mask and an Eye Gel. Body and bath products include a Mud Foam Bath and a Dead Sea Natural Mud Soap. Hair care products are offered too, such as Mud Shampoos for normal, dry or damaged hair, Mud Conditioners and a Revitalizing Mud Hair Mask. Retail prices range from $4.65 for a mud soap to $13.60 for the antiwrinkle cream.

Minerals Aromatics U.S. sales are expected reach $3 million to $4 million in 2004 and $8 million in 2005.

Kreisman said he is eager to help promote the products in stores with sampling programs, in-store coupon campaigns and even by hiring sales people to explain the line to consumers. Kreisman has had a weekend salesperson to promote Minerals Aromatics in Harmon Drugs’ new upscale unit in Short Hills, NJ.

He plans to import four other brands to the U.S. over the next several years, with products designed for spa and department store distribution, as well as an acne line for mass.

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