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Beauty Radar Screen: April 22, 2010

Martha Choy, who founded a Web-based fashion, accessories and jewelry business called Martha’s Closet a year ago, has gotten into the beauty business.

Martha Choy, who founded a Web-based fashion, accessories and jewelry business called Martha’s Closet a year ago, has gotten into the beauty business.

Choy, who is a compliance director at an investment bank, an industry in which she has worked for more than 20 years, has launched, which features her own bath, body and fragrance line, dubbed Bare.

The 253-item assortment features a raft of bath and massage oils; bar soaps; body butters and creams; facial treatment items; fragrances; hair care products; bath gels, scrubs and salts; balms, and lotions. Products come in numerous sizes and fragrances, and range in price from $1.50 for travel-size items to $80 for 8-oz., shea butter-infused body butters.

There’s also a 1-oz. Bare fragrance, called Dare to Be Bare Parfum, which is priced at $225. Choy describes the scent as a dry, alcohol-free floral perfume and it comprises a 50 to 75 percent concentration of essential oils. It is tuberose based and features notes of gardenia, lilac, ylang-ylang, jasmine and orange blossom.

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Bare products are handmade by Choy in her studio garden apartment on East 81st Street in New York. “I’m scooping, pumping, ladling and labeling all by myself,” she said, adding she’d like to eventually launch a wholesale business with distribution in specialty beauty stores.

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Some of the newest additions to the line include a mint version of Bare’s Transportation Security Administration-approved Bare-fly Travel Satchels. Priced at $99.75, it includes 2-oz. versions of Bare Body Butter, Hair Thickening Shampoo, Hair Thickening Conditioner, Body Bubbles, Face Fighter Wash, Beeswax Lip Balm, Body Lotion and a 5-ml. size of the perfume. The same items are available in 1-oz. versions in Bare’s Le Petit Bare-fly Travel Satchel ($59.75), which also has the 5-ml. version of the perfume.

The mint Bare-fly and Le Petit Bare-fly Travel Satchels were introduced last week. Hitting later this month are bath and massage oils in eucalyptus spearmint, lavender and jasmine scents. They will be available in 16-, 8-, 4,- 2- and 1-oz. versions for $70, $39.95, $22, $12 and $7, respectively.

Choy, who modeled for Ford Models when she was 15, was inspired to do a beauty line because “I was exposed to beauty then,” she said, discussing her modeling days. “People like cosmetics because it’s a luxury — but it’s an affordable luxury. In recessions, women just don’t give up on their skin care.”

When it comes to making the fragrance, she blends the Dare to Be Bare Parfum ingredients on her kitchen counter — which “looks like a lab now” — making about 4 to 6 oz. of the fragrance at a time “with pipettes,” plus filling “hundreds of sample sizes with an eyedropper.”

Referring to the packaging of the Bare products, she said: “I like doing the turn-of-the-century, apothecary look.”

Choy estimated that, as she develops her beauty business, sales on her Bare Web site could reach $36,000 in the next 12 months, a number she said she thinks could triple with the launch of a wholesale business. Aside from the Web site, Bare is carried at Upper East Side salon Creations by Michael Inc.

On the fashion side, Choy’s Martha’s Closet Web site features Lilly Pulitzer fashion; jewelry from Cheeky Monkey, Beaded Tortoise and D.K. Thornton; dresses; bags, and swimwear. Her Bare beauty products were carried on the Martha’s Closet site until the launch of in January.