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NEW YORK — Chocoholics are about to get a whole new form of therapy.

In November, Origins will launch the Cocoa Therapy collection, the first new line unveiled since Daria Myers, senior vice president and general manager, rejoined the brand. The collection is also a nod to the brand’s heritage, which largely focused on wellness and the use of essential oils and other natural ingredients.

This mission is of key importance to Myers, who was a founding member of the brand’s team. “The purpose is to harness the healthful benefits of the cocoa bean for skin and body care,” said Myers. “They are serious products because they have the health benefits and essential oil of the cocoa bean in them. In fact, we use almost every part of the cocoa bean plant in our products. We thought it would have a very innate appeal.”

The Cocoa Therapy Body Care collection consists of five bath and body products that contain ingredients such as theobroma cacao, vanilla, lemon, orange and ginger. The lineup includes Deeply Nourishing Body Butter, a rich cream intended to enhance the skin’s moisture barrier to combat dryness that will retail for $27.50 for an 8-oz. jar; a salve called Total Body Treat, $28.50 for 4.4 oz.; Energy-Boosting Body Bar, $10 for 5 oz., Body-Buffing Scrub, which contains walnut shells and apricot seeds to smooth skin, priced at $25 for 8 oz., and Instant Chocolate Fix, a cocoa elixir complete with a roller ball applicator, 0.24 oz. for $13.50.

“The primary focus for us in each product was reaping the benefits of the cocoa pod and supplementing it with other natural oils, butters or vitamins that would be nutritious to the skin,” said Lynn Mazzella, vice president of global product development.

There will also be seven edible items in the form of dark chocolate bars and hot chocolate developed by renowned chocolatier Jacques Torres, frequently referred to as “Mr. Chocolate.” This marks the start of the brand’s guest editor program, in which it will associate with celebrities in different areas in a bid to attract younger customers. The Sensory Therapy Chocolates will retail for $5 each and contain a blend of essential oils such as mandarin, sweet orange, thyme, ginger, peppermint and basil and are formulated — and named — to address the customers’ needs: To Help Sweeten Your Sleep, To Help Relax You, To Help Rev You Up, To Help Brighten Your Spirits and To Help Settle Your “Too Full” Tummy. In addition there is Sensory Therapy Hot Chocolate Original and Sensory Therapy Hot Chocolate To Help Boost Your Well-Being With Lemon, Clove and Thyme. Each is $16 for a 16-oz. container, which offers about eight to 10 servings.

This story first appeared in the July 30, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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“We were intrigued by the idea of taking essential oils — which are the basis for all of our products — and putting them into chocolate,” noted Myers. “They are so potent that you can actually ingest them and have a positive benefit from them.”

The packaging was designed to “replicate the feeling of food and specialty food packaging,” said Anelle Miller, senior vice president of creative for Origins. “It needed to be special and fresh and it was very important that it really married with the rest of the line so that it works well together when merchandised in-store.”

While company executives would not discuss sales projections, industry sources estimated that the Cocoa Therapy collection could generate in excess of $12 million at retail in the first year on counter and that about $1 million would be spent on advertising and promotion.

The launch will be promoted via co-op advertising and radio as well as by sampling with approximately 200,000 samples of the Deeply Nourishing Body Butter and 250,000 samples of the Sensory Therapy Chocolate, To Help Brighten Your Spirits. Joellen Bradford, vice president of global marketing for Origins noted that the brand will “have a big holiday catalogue this year and the cover and focus will be the Cocoa Therapy launch and collection. We are launching it around the holiday time, which is a great time for chocolate.” There will also be in-store support such as posters, counter cards and brochures emphasizing “the folklore and some of the modern scientific benefits of chocolate.”

The collection will be available in the brand’s 425 department store doors and its 125 freestanding stores. “I think this indicates that we are taking an audacious step by introducing a new category [in all doors],” said Myers. “In the past when we have done ingestibles, we’ve usually started them in our own stores. We have gotten such a good response to the chocolates and are willing to go all the way with them.” Origins is also available in some 16 countries where the collection will begin rolling out in November.

Myers said that Origins will take a wait-and-see approach to determine if all five flavors will remain part of the permanent collection and added that “Valentine’s Day is a wonderful opportunity to expand this line. There are still other areas that can benefit from these cocoa bean health benefits.”

— Kristin Finn