Essential oils are becoming more essential to Target.
In its first major dive into the plant-derived building blocks of fragrance and aromatherapy, the mass retailer in April will place seven essential oils products from EO Products’ brand Everyone on shelves in the wellness departments throughout its nearly 1,800 U.S. stores. In addition, Everyone is introducing three essential oil products to Target’s beauty category in 500 doors, and one to its first aid category in all doors. The essential oil products are priced at $9.99, and a diffuser to disseminate them is $34.99.
“Essential oils have been around for thousands of years, but there is a movement toward rediscovering them,” said Susan Griffin-Black, co-chief executive officer and cofounder of San Rafael, Calif.-based EO Products. “It’s spread across a bunch of different demographics and psychographics. It’s part of the maker movement and how women are learning to be moms. People are just looking for healthier products and becoming educated on ingredients, and how they affect their bodies and the planet.”
Everyone is demystifying essential oils for Target customers who might be unfamiliar with them by providing blends — seven of the 11 products headed to the retailer are blends — formulated for specific purposes be they relaxation, refreshment or focus as well as single notes of lavender, eucalyptus and peppermint. On the outside packaging for the products are details on the uses of essential oils in diffusers; mixed with lotion, body oil or water in baths or spray bottles; and imbued into compresses.
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“We assumed very little is known about essential oils, and we are really taking things from step one for the customer,” said co-ceo and cofounder Brad Black. Griffin-Black further explained, “In a natural foods market, essential oils are in their own display, and you see a zillion little bottles that are not very accessible. By boxing them and telling their story, that is quite helpful in terms of people understanding them. We also include a dropper and not just a reducer, so people have more control in a DIY situation.”
Aimed at Millennials, EO Products created Everyone as an affordable counterpart to its original EO line, and the brand entered Target in 2013 with lotions and soaps infused with essential oils. “Our placement was on the bottom shelf, and we didn’t have a lot of [stockkeeping units]. Still, because of the packaging, the value and the essential oils, people gravitated to the product,” Griffin-Black said. Black, who noted Everyone recently surpassed EO as EO Products’ biggest revenue producer, elaborated, “I doubt we are the first natural brand purchased [by Target customers]. As customers’ confidence in natural brands expands, they are willing to try smaller brands.”
As Target customers get acquainted with natural brands and the concept of essential oils, Black and Griffin-Black indicated it’s difficult to pin down a projection for first-year sales of Everyone’s essential oil items at the retailer. Black did point out Target has been relatively conservative in its sales expectations for Everyone, and the brand has been performing three to four times better than its minimum forecast. “They [Target] is committed as we are developing and growing the business,” emphasized Griffin-Black. “It shows a commitment to supporting their customer base who is curious and dedicated to a more healthy lifestyle.”