By  on October 7, 2005

UNIONDALE, N.Y. — Del Laboratories' Sally Hansen is bent on building its stable of beauty franchises one blockbuster product at a time.

The treatment-focused beauty brand has a proven track record in that arena, expanding Diamond Strength from a nail hardener to lip care with a range of shimmering lip glosses, and taking Beyond Perfect from a nail polish to include foot care with a treatment collection.

"Star products are essential," noted Bill Boraczek, Sally Hansen's senior vice president of marketing, during a recent meeting. "Each product has to stand by itself."

The company's newly minted chief executive officer, Charles J. Hinkaty, who previously served as Del's chief operating officer, was on hand to assure that the company's recent management changes will not slow Sally Hansen's product pipeline.

"The message to the trade is that innovation has been the hallmark of the company's success," said Hinkaty, who assumed the top spot after Bill McMenemy's departure in August. "The business in terms of innovation and in terms of efficiency will be better."

This spring, Sally Hansen will accelerate its franchise expansion with a cadre of new products and collections, including Just Feet, a foot care line that is currently being sold at Wal-Mart.

Sally Hansen is currently testing Just Feet in 1,000 Wal-Mart stores, and plans to roll out the line to more retailers this spring. The 50-item collection, which ranges from balms and scrubs to tools and antifungal products, seeks to give serious foot care (of Dr. Scholl's ilk) a pampering element.

Standout items include the $7.95 Spa Foot Moisture Mousse, designed to instantly cool and moisturize feet and legs; NightTime Heel Repair Wrap for dry heels for $6.50, and the $3.25 Spa Pedicure Color, fast-drying nail lacquer specifically formulated for toenails. The products will be merchandised in the foot care section of mass market retailers.

Just Feet's more medicinal products, such as No More Fungus Spray and Painful Toe Relief Gel, brings the Sally Hansen brand into a new category. On the nail treatment side, Sally Hansen is introducing the $12.95 Recover Pain Relieving Anti-Microbial Nail Solution, a medical-strength first-aid antiseptic designed to be used immediately after a manicure and pedicure to kill bacteria and microbes.Not to be overlooked, hands also are getting attention from Sally Hansen. In December, it will introduced a four-item hand care collection designed to "treat hands as well as the face," explained Boraczek. And while Sally Hansen doesn't overtly market to Baby Boomers, product names such as Anti-Wrinkle Extra Firming Hand Crème and Hand Resurfacer With Micro-Crystals likely will appeal to mature consumers. Remaining products include Flawless Hands Skin Brightening Hand Crème, which is designed to minimize the appearance of age spots and protect hands with SPF 20, and Miracle Cure for Severely Dry Hands, a formula that includes ceramides and peptides to repair extremely dry skin. The products, which are housed in champagne-colored tubes topped with gold-colored caps, will sell for a suggested retail price of $7.95 each.

"By speaking to the product's benefits, we can speak to different consumer groups," said Boraczek.

Consumers have shown their willingness to embrace the Sally Hansen name outside of nail care, and the company has responded by going deeper into cosmetics. The brand has identified lip as a high-growth category. While it has a modest 2 percent share in the category — according to Information Resources Inc. data (which excludes Wal-Mart) for the 52-week period ended Sept. 4 — its share has ramped up nearly 45 percent during the period to $12.4 million. Sally Hansen will continue to beef up its presence in the category with new products such as Lip Inflation Plumping Treatment, a tingling gloss infused with ginger and cinnamon that bares a striking resemblance to the $36 LipFusion sold at Sephora. Sally Hansen's $5.95 lip plumper, marketed with the tag line "Dare to Compare," is hitting stores now. The lip-plumping trend has begun to surface in Europe, as well, offering another frontier for growth, noted Judy Holm, vice president of marketing at Sally Hansen.

This spring, the brand will unveil a problem-solving lip care collection called Repairwear for Lips. Each of the five products will sell for $5.95 and is designed to correct concerns such as thin lips, chapped or rough lips and lip color that bleeds. The lineup includes 24 Hour Lip Treatment, a formula infused with orange oil and vitamins A, C and E to condition lips; Lip Exfoliator + Moisturizer, a dual-use product said to remove rough skin and smooth lips with vitamin E; Thin Collagen Boost, Chapped Lip Repair, a medicated treatment that contains 0.5 percent allantoin, and Invisible Lip Liner to lock lip color in place.While it views select cosmetics segments as opportunities, Sally Hansen has tweaked its strategy for Sally Hansen Healing Beauty, which launched in 2003 as a stand-alone cosmetics line. The company weeded out underperforming items and all but two retailers, namely Walgreens and CVS, have collapsed its display space into Sally Hansen's primary planogram. However, Del has not walked away from the franchise. In November, Sally Hansen will begin shipping Maximum Plumping Lip Treatment, a gloss with a hint of color that is said to increase collagen to create fuller-looking lips. And early next year, it will introduce a reformulated Fast and Flawless Airbrush Makeup with SPF 8. It also will replace the product's silver caps with "color matched" tops to help consumers quickly choose their foundation shades.

In keeping with its whole-body approach to beauty, Sally Hansen will grow its Airbush Sun franchise, launched earlier this year, with Pre-Tan Exfoliator, designed to smooth skin and prep it for self-tanner, and After Tan Extender, described as an illuminating moisturizer that maintains the color of artificial and natural tans.

Its upcoming offering of nail treatments includes Miracle Cure, a base coat designed to treat nails that peel, break or split with protein and antioxidants for $7.95; Speed Shine, a fast-drying top coat that imparts a shine finish for $6.50, and Xtreme Wear Nail Color, a collection aimed squarely at young women with 30 bold colors, such as Ruby Stilettos and Lime Lights. The idea for the color palette stems from Sally Hansen's onetime Candy Rocks promotion and will sell for $2.50 each. According to IRI, Sally Hansen occupies four of the five top spots in the nail polish segment and three of the top five in nail treatments.

Sally Hansen's focus, however, places treatment before color. Boraczek commented, "Colors may cycle, but treatments will always be important."

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