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Sick Feet Get Beauty-Focused Line

NEW YORK — Dr. Bradley Marsh is putting a new foot forward. <br><br>The New York-based podiatrist has relinquished his three-office podiatry practice to run Tripod Labs, an herbal-based foot care company he and two...

NEW YORK — Dr. Bradley Marsh is putting a new foot forward.

This story first appeared in the July 18, 2003 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The New York-based podiatrist has relinquished his three-office podiatry practice to run Tripod Labs, an herbal-based foot care company he and two colleagues-turned-business-partners founded in 1997 in Great Neck, N.Y.

Marsh, chief executive officer of Tripod Labs, along with company president Dr. Marc Brenner and chief operating officer Dr. Lance Greiff, started brewing their own creams and lacquers for the same reasons many makeup artists create their own cosmetics lines.

“We were unhappy with what was available,” Marsh said. “Instead of talking about it, we created our own.”

The trio specifically wanted their over-the-counter products to reflect the best of what traditional medicine and herbal remedies had to offer, Marsh said. The trio sought the guidance of a New York-based chemist to assist them with implementing comparable herbal remedies to their traditional medicine ingredients.

For example, Tripod’s Advanced Moisturizing Formula for dry, cracked feet uses hyaluronic acid, a traditional medicinal ingredient for wounds, as well as slippery elm bark, aloe, collagen and vitamin E.

The company’s six-item product line targets some of the most popular ailments affecting foot care patients today, such as nail fungus, yellow nails, dry heels, foot pain, athlete’s foot and plantar warts.

Suggested retail prices for Tripod products range from $11.95 for the Advanced Moisturizing Formula to $19.95 for Nailstat Formula.

Tripod’s distribution is beginning to take off. After attending podiatry conferences and gaining distribution in colleagues’ offices in the late Nineties, Tripod decided to go retail. In 2001 Tripod entered General Nutrition Centers and a smattering of health food stores. This year the brand has landed in Price Chopper, Harmon Drugs and, most recently, Duane Reade.

A regional advertising campaign is planned this fall to support distribution. Radio spots, as well as print ads in New York magazine, The Village Voice, and chain flyers are now being considered.

Tripod encourages retail buyers to commit to at least three items in the line.

“We try not to sell one or two [items] to a chain. We’d like at least three or four — if not all six — and have them put side by side, since the packaging makes such a statement on shelves,” Marsh said, adding that the company tapped Manhattan-based Stormhouse Partners to design the line’s colorful boxes.

Tripod Labs will end 2003 with less than $500,000 in sales, but Marsh is looking at the big picture, speculating that Tripod could be the next Dr. Scholl’s.

“I don’t foresee any limits on how big the line can get. Very few [foot care companies] have a complete line [of products.] They have one product for this and one product for that. We came out with a cosmetic line for a nonglamorous section.”