By  on January 13, 2006

NEW YORK — Prime real estate doesn't simply refer to properties owned by Donald Trump and André Balazs. In beauty, a key location within a store's cosmetics floor can mean immediate consumer solicitation. But to get a prime spot, a brand has to first prove itself.

Enter Natura Bissé, the 26-year-old Spanish skin care brand that recently moved to Bergdorf Goodman's most coveted space located in its basement beauty floor: the heavily trafficked area adjacent to the escalator. A smooth-talking Natura Bissé salesperson now has the opportunity to lure descendants off the escalator to its counter before women get the chance to peruse the dozens of other beauty brands sold throughout the floor, most notably Erno Lazlo, who formerly occupied the area. Erno Lazlo now can be found in Natura Bissé's old space, a smaller, yet still beautiful counter by the floor's elevators.

Rewards aren't just handed out in the retail world; Natura Bissé earned the spot the old-fashioned way. Sales of its creams and masks within Bergdorf's went from $175,000 to almost $1 million in 18 months, according to Joaquin Serra, chief operating officer of Natura Bissé. Monthly sales hover at $90,000 in Bergdorf's, up from $20,000 in the same time period.

The reason for the success spurt?

"We have the best sales team and the best products," said Serra. One account executive and three aestheticians work the counter, two of whom also make sales. Serra added that the launch of Inhibit Dermafill, a preventative antiage cream, in August 2004 really put the brand on the map. Face creams in the Diamond line, which launched in 2000, and Diamond Extreme, an antiage cream enriched with neuropeptides and lipid supplements, which launched in 2005, also played a role in sales success.

"Inhibit doubled overall sales when it launched two years ago," Serra said.

And more sales increases are to come.

"This is the best real estate when it comes to square feet in New York City, because of the escalator," Serra said.

The new space is equipped with two treatment rooms where aestheticians can perform facials, a good selling tool for moving products. While the 60-minute facials are complimentary, many customers walk away with up to $1,200 worth of items. It's not hard to get to that sales figure: Inhibit Dermafill retails for $385, Diamond Extreme costs $300 and Glyco Peeling, a serum designed to gently exfoliate dead skin cells, sells for $180.With about 92 high-performance, luxuriously positioned items from 12 lines, Natura Bissé USA estimates it ended 2005 with $8.5 million in wholesale sales, a 27 percent jump over last year, according to Veronica Fisas, chief executive officer of Natura Bissé USA. In the U.S., Natura Bissé is sold in 95 stores, including Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus and Barneys New York.

For 2006, Fisas expects U.S. sales to rise again, to $10.5 million wholesale, due in part to Diamond Extreme, as well as from entering new spas and independent retailers. By 2010, Natura Bissé is poised to be sold in as many as 300 doors in the U.S. and Mexico, with sales goals of $20 million wholesale.

Fisas said she expects Natura Bissé worldwide to end 2005 with approximately $36 million in retail sales. The brand also is sold in Japan and Hong Kong, and will begin selling in Australia this year.

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