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Swiss Army Enlists Women

NEW YORK — Wenger, the company best known as the maker of the iconic Swiss Army Knife, is exploring its feminine side with its first women’s scent.<br><br>Although Swiss Army is more male- oriented, it enjoys quite a large following among...

NEW YORK — Wenger, the company best known as the maker of the iconic Swiss Army Knife, is exploring its feminine side with its first women’s scent.

This story first appeared in the September 20, 2002 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Although Swiss Army is more male- oriented, it enjoys quite a large following among females. Company executives note that one-third of the brand’s watches are purchased by women, while the knives are often carried on key rings or in purses and cars. That broad acceptance prompted executives to create its first women’s scent. Called Swiss Army For Her, it will roll out to 600 U.S. doors in late October.

Wenger launched its first men’s fragrance, Swiss Army, in 1997, and followed with Swiss Army Altitude in 2001. As for the women’s scent, “we felt that it was a logical extension to our men’s fragrance business,” said Tom Ellis, director of Swiss Army Fragrance, who noted that the two scents “have actually become a bigger business than we had originally expected.

“We have a brand which enjoys high awareness and favorability among women,” he continued. “We did some research about a year ago that came back even stronger than we had anticipated. It gave us the last bit of reassurance we needed to pull the trigger.”

The distribution for Swiss Army For Her will mirror that of the men’s, including Dillard’s, Marshall Field’s, Carson Pirie Scott, Herberger’s and Younkers. In addition, executives said the scent will be in at least one division of Federated, but declined to name which one. Internationally, it will hit markets in Latin America in late November, as well as Spain, Portugal and the Caribbean in duty-free shops for the resort season.

Executives declined to disclose numbers, but industry sources estimate that Swiss Army For Her could ring up $2.5 million at retail in the first year.

The floral scent gets its inspiration from the Swiss Alps and includes top notes of edelweiss, daffodil, blue buttercup and Swiss alpine berries accord; middle notes of ginger root, watermint and mandarin, and bottom notes of rosewood, tree moss and white musk. “We looked to utilize ingredients from flowers and plants that are indigenous to Switzerland,” Ellis said.

Created by Harry Fremont of Firmenich, the fragrance targets an active, natural woman. “We see it as a daytime, easy-to-wear fragrance that’s appropriate for women in a casual setting. We tried not to make it too sexy or romantic,” Ellis added. In keeping with that theme, the packaging, created by designer Sayuri Shogi, combines the company’s signature red with silver accents. “You think of the red handles on our knives, which is why we really tried to focus on the red and silver color theme throughout our packaging of the line,” Ellis said.

The lineup for launch includes 3.4-oz. and 1.7-oz. eau de toilette sprays, $54 and $40 respectively; body lotion, $24; shower gel, $20; a deodorant stick for $15, and a 3-ml. travel spray on a chain for $10 with a same-size refill for $5.

In the U.S., promotional efforts will include visual weeks with modeling activity in-store; a value-added set that includes a 100-ml. fragrance, body lotion and the travel spray with two refills for $54; a vial-on-card to be distributed at store level; scented catalog inserts, and travel sprays that will be given out during visual weeks and various promotional times. There are no plans yet for print advertising.