NEW YORK — Michael Stars has ventured beyond the basic T-shirt into the beauty business. The Manhattan Beach, Calif.-based apparel manufacturer, whose tag line, "the original tee," set the stage for the brand’s no-frills image, is keeping true to simplicity by creating the tag line, "the original scent," for a new line of fragrances.

"We are targeting the girl who wears our tee and likes our brand," said Michael Cohen, president of Michael Stars. The company, which launched in 1986, opened its first store in Manhattan Beach in early December 2001. The T-shirts, which are priced around $40, have garnered a cult-like following, and are sold at department and specialty stores worldwide.

The scent, which was created by Ungerer & Co., contains top notes of tuberose, freesia, tamarind and osmanthus; middle notes are pink peony, blue orris and white lilies; and bottom notes are cashmere woods, Asian incense, vetiver and sheer musk. Called Michael Stars, the fragrance launched exclusively at Nordstrom — about 90 doors nationwide — and at Michael Stars’ flagship in mid-February.

Fragrances from the new line consist of a 1.7-oz and 3.7-oz. eau de parfum spray that retail for $46 and $68 respectively, an 8-oz. body lotion for $30 and 8-oz. shower gel for $25. There also will be a Mother’s Day gift set with the 1.7-oz. scent, and the 8-oz. shower gel and lotion for $70. Executives refused to comment on sales expectations, but industry sources estimate that the new line could do $5 million at retail in its first year.

"[Michael Stars] fell into what I do, which is look for brands with certain appeal," said Ron Chavers, president of Cosmetix West, a company that specializes in product development, manufacturing, sales and marketing services for department and specialty stores. Cosmetix West worked with the team at Michael Stars to transform the apparel brand into a beauty brand. Fragrances are being merchandised in both the cosmetics and fragrance departments of Nordstrom, as well as in its fashion-forward Savvy department.

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