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Prada Aims for Fashionable Fall Lineup

NEW YORK — Prada’s beauty division is heading for a busy second half. <br><br>With a new product lineup and a signed letter of intent for a joint venture partner in hand, Jill Scalamandre, general manager of Prada’s beauty arm,...

NEW YORK — Prada’s beauty division is heading for a busy second half.

This story first appeared in the August 23, 2002 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

With a new product lineup and a signed letter of intent for a joint venture partner in hand, Jill Scalamandre, general manager of Prada’s beauty arm, Cosmetics International Distribution, is ready to continue expanding Prada Beauty’s reach both in the U.S. and abroad.

In mid-September, the company will unveil multidose packaging for three of its eye care products: Reviving Cream/Eye, Soothing Gel/Eye and Lightening Serum/Eye. Each retails for $75 per multidose bottle.

In mid-October, the brand will roll out Reviving Bio-Firm Concentrate, a $130, lightweight, high-efficacy face serum that is the eighth product in the existing Concentrates Collection, said Jan-Henrik Schlossmann, vice president of marketing.

And at holiday, the brand will introduce three gift sets: Lip Tints Beauty Box, a $42 item containing eight tinted lip balms; Skin Refining Spa Treatments; a $60 box with four doses each of Exfoliating Concentrate/Face, Exfoliating Mask/Face and Reviving Bio-Firm Moisture SPF 15/Face and a Prada headband, and Travel Accessory Bag; a $130 black Prada makeup bag stuffed with 15 skin care doses from across the Prada Beauty lineup.

Each of the new items builds on a key strength of the Prada beauty franchise, emphasized Scalamandre.

“Multidose packaging broadens our audience and targets traditionalists,” she noted, adding that it currently represents about 20 percent of the brand’s skin care business. Monodoses —?the brand’s one-shot applications of product — represent another 55 percent of the brand’s skin care business, she said. “Future daily-use products will target both consumers,” she added. The two-year-old brand launched first with the monodoses, then added multidoses in 2001.

Reviving Bio-Firm Concentrate builds on the existing Concentrates franchise, which represents a key part of the skin care business, said Schlossmann.

And customer response to last year’s holiday kits convinced Scalamandre to add more this year. “Last year, our holiday gift sets sold out in two days,” she said.

While very limited national advertising will begin in October, the major energy behind the brand will be with sampling and in-store events such as facials, said Schlossmann. “Particularly with skin care, sampling is really what sells the product,” he said. “Once they try it, they’re hooked.” To that end, Prada Beauty is distributing 100,000 samples of the eye creams in September, as well as 60,000 samples of the Reviving Bio-Firm Concentrate/Face in October. Handout cards detailing the virtues of the product, as well as direct mail pieces and appearances in retailer catalogs, are also part of the plan.

While neither Scalamandre nor Schlossmann would cite numbers, industry sources estimated that the three products together would do about $4 million to $5 million at retail and that the brand would spend about $750,000 on advertising and promotion.

As reported, Prada announced in June that it had signed a letter of intent with Gruppo Puig Beauty & Fashion SL to form a joint venture that will create and distribute perfumes and skin care under the Prada label. Puig also owns the brands Nina Ricci, Carolina Herrera, Paco Rabanne and Payot, and it produces and distributes Hussein Chalayan perfumes under license.

Scalamandre said that the two firms are still in due diligence. “However, we are two groups that have a great deal of respect for each other and have very similar philosophies,” she said, noting that the deal is “a true joint venture, not a licensing deal, so there are lots of things to discuss.”

The deal would allow Scalamandre to expand the brand’s reach, something that she mentions is in long-range plans for the brand. Prada Beauty items are currently in just 90 doors globally —?40 perfumeries, 30 specialty department stores and 20 Prada boutiques in key cities. In total: 28 beauty doors are in the U.S., 10 in Asia and 52 in Europe. “We have a great opportunity to expand our reach, and a partnership would allow more depth and penetration for the brand,” she said, noting that one of the best-selling doors for the brand is Neiman Marcus’s e-commerce site. Scalamandre estimates that within the next few years, the skin care products have the potential of being in 1,000 to 1,200 doors globally.

For the future, the team will also add additional color items, “but they will always be positioned as tinted skin care, rather than a color cosmetics line,” emphasized Scalamandre. The brand’s lip tints, launched in March, were the brand’s first foray into that arena. “These items broaden our audience with color use, drive consumers into buying skin care and leverage a fashion aesthetic, so they represent a great opportunity for the brand.”