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Varvatos, Zirh in Licensing Deal

NEW YORK — What do you get when a top men’s wear designer and men’s skin care company join forces? The answer: John Varvatos fragrance and skin care line.<br><br>The John Varvatos Co., a subsidiary of Nautica Enterprises Inc. and...

NEW YORK — What do you get when a top men’s wear designer and men’s skin care company join forces? The answer: John Varvatos fragrance and skin care line.

The John Varvatos Co., a subsidiary of Nautica Enterprises Inc. and Zirh International Corp., a division of Shiseido, have entered into a licensing agreement in which Zirh will develop, manufacture and distribute fragrance and skin care products under the John Varvatos name.

Harvey Sanders, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Nautica Enterprises Inc., said: “This is a great relationship between John and a great company in Zirh and Shiseido. We will not only put out a great fragrance, but also skin care. We are excited for John and for the company.”

John Varvatos is a men’s lifestyle collection consisting of tailored clothing, sportswear, leather accessories and footwear that made its debut in the fall of 2000. U.S. distribution includes two freestanding boutiques in Los Angeles and New York, as well as Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Barneys New York and specialty boutiques. The collection has international distribution in approximately 16 countries. John Varvatos will introduce a woman’s clothing line for Fall 2004.

Zirh manufactures and distributes men’s prestige skin care and fragrances. Distribution includes Sephora, Saks Fifth Avenue and other specialty stores in the U.S., as well as international doors, for a total of about 2,200 doors.

“For Shiseido, the partnership with John Varvatos gives us an entry into the men’s fragrance category with a designer that is synonymous with quality and good taste,” said Heidi Manheimer, president of U.S. operations at Shiseido. “There is tremendous synergy between Shiseido’s research and development resources, the marketing expertise of Zirh and the power of the John Varvatos name.”

The signature line is set to launch in February 2004 in 500 doors domestically — including department and specialty stores as well as in all company-owned John Varvatos stores — and 1,700 to 2,000 international doors. The line will consist of the fragrance and eight ancillary items. Industry sources estimate that the line could ring up as much as $15 million worldwide in first-year retail sales.

This story first appeared in the December 13, 2002 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

“Zirh is a big skin care business and there are just a few others [in the men’s skin care category], but there is nobody at the designer end of the business that’s doing it,” said Varvatos. “I think there’s an opportunity as men are much more concerned about their physical shape in skin; there’s an opportunity out there to be innovative in that area. It’s the combination of the fragrance and skin care that really intrigued me.”

The scent is being developed by Quest and will be available in 2.5- and 4.2-oz. bottles, retailing for $47.50 and $60, respectively.

“This is the completion of a strategy for the next five years,” noted Brian Robinson, president of Zirh International. “Zirh is the base; FCUK is trendy, hip, young and widely distributed, and John Varvatos is the prestigious treasure on top with select distribution. Part of this multibrand strategy is that the brands won’t cannibalize sales from one another.”

Advertising will include outdoor, print, sampling and fashion shows. Company executives would not discuss numbers, but industry sources estimate the advertising budget could exceed $5 million.

Future plans for the brand are to launch a woman’s fragrance in 2005; a diffusion line may also be rolled out.