NEW YORK — German hairstylist Marlies Möller wants to teach Americans a thing or two about hair care. Since introducing her namesake product line, Marlies Möller Beauty Hair Care, in the late Eighties, Möller has gained ground in Europe by promoting a practical approach to hair care, one in which products and styling tools, such as brushes, work in tandem.
Now, Möller is attempting to hook American consumers with that same philosophy. In February, Marlies Möller Beauty made its debut in the U.S. market in Douglas, Bath & Body Works and C.O. Bigelow doors. This fall, it will begin rolling out regionally at Nordstrom, starting in Chicago. The collection has also begun popping up at ultrachic boutiques, such as Horn Fashion in Los Angeles.
"The beauty of Marlies Möller in the United States is that we have nothing but opportunity here," said Nadia Yousif, national brand manager of Lantz-A-Lot Inc., which oversees Marlies Möller Beauty's marketing, public relations and sales activities in the U.S.
The collection includes some 27 items, across two lines, namely Essentials and PashmiSilk. PashmiSilk is billed as a luxury hair care assortment whose standout product is the $80 PashmiSilk Repair Intensive Serum, a treatment product that contains ingredients such as "ocean silk" to soften hair and improve shine. Each line organizes products into a three-step system: cleanse, care and styling. And each step is designed to be used with one of four brushes.
This collection is not about hair type, said Yousif. "It's about how you want your hair to feel" — stronger, smoother, more voluminous.
In mid-July the company added the $18 Shiny Hair Spray to the Essentials line and plans to add another item, namely the $22 Straight Hair Taming Styling Serum, this October. Shiny Hair is designed to give hair a shimmering finish, without weighing the hair down. Straight Hair's formula contains andiroba oil (extracted from nuts in the Amazon) and UV filters to protect hair, prevent frizz and even define curls. In its existing offering, Essentials includes novel products such as Liquid Hair, a volumizing mousse designed to smooth damaged hair, and Overnight Hair Care, an intensive hair mask intended to be applied to dry hair — a trend that is just beginning to get attention in the U.S. market.While the company would not comment on sales, industry sources expect Marlies Möller Beauty could reap $1 million in first-year retail sales in the U.S.
With a handful of key retail partners in place, the company is looking to up its visibility in the U.S. market by tying the brand to a host of celebrity and consumer events. PashmiSilk Repair Serum was tucked into goody bags given out at the American Pavilion at the Cannes Film Festival in May. The company also partnered with Russell Simmons for his Art for Life benefit galas held in Palm Beach, Fla., and East Hampton, N.Y. Marlies Möller Beauty added products to gift bags distributed at the two events, which raise funds to support art programs for underprivileged urban youth. Most recently, the firm teamed up with Stila at the U.S. Open to host the Grand Slam Beauty Suite, where hairstylists and makeup artists made over tennis stars such as Mary Pierce and Ana Ivanovic. Each player was given a bottle of Shiny Hair.
"We've been trying to get this brand into everyone's hands," said Yousif, adding that the goal is to align the brand with key personalities in the fashion, entertainment and sports arenas.
The company is focusing its marketing efforts in stores as well. Beginning this month, Marlies Möller Beauty will host hair analysis events at four Bath & Body Works stores across the country. The effort kicks off Sept. 30 at BBW's Tysons Corner in McLean, Va., and then travel south to Texas BBW stores.
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