NEW YORK — The threat of Hurricane Jeanne, the fourth hurricane to pummel Florida this season, prompted ECRM show organizers to cancel its Hair Care Conference, scheduled to take place earlier this week in Miami.
ECRM sent out a barrage of e-mails Saturday afternoon, less than 24 hours before the show was scheduled to begin, alerting the hundreds of prospective attendees the event had been canceled.
Rather than let it be a total washout, ECRM chief executive officer Charles Bowlus immediately rescheduled the show, originally on the calendar for Sept. 26-30, for next month. The hair care conference will now take place Oct. 24-27 in Hollywood, Calif., at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel — a stone’s throw from the Kodak Theater.
ECRM held the hair care conference in October last year, but pushed it forward to appease large retail chains that finalize their hair care planograms by early fall. The new date has allowed heavyweight retailers, such as CVS and Target — neither of which was expected at the Miami show — to take part in the event, said Bowlus, although he cautioned that it was too early to confirm their attendance. He added that a day after ECRM had rescheduled the event, nearly half of the 70 manufacturers and 60 retailers slated to attend the canceled event had signed on to participate.
And while some Miami conference-goers grumbled that they were stuck with nonrefundable tickets to Miami, most quickly shifted to plan B.
For The Village Company, a division of Minnetonka Brands, that meant sharing its latest product news with retailers via e-mail. The e-mail, with the subject heading “ECRM Hair Care Show — what you would have seen for Hair Therapy from The Village Company,” contained a PowerPoint presentation that detailed the company’s relaunch plans for Hair Therapy. Minnetonka recently took over sales and marketing for Hair Therapy, a brand created and currently owned by Progressive Beauty Brands, and had planned to unveil the newly revamped and reformulated brand to retailers at ECRM this week. Michael Piff, executive vice president of worldwide sales and marketing for Minnetonka, explained that Hair Therapy’s new packaging, which ships this January, will emphasize the brand’s positioning as a “true therapeutic, ‘fix my hair problem’ hair care brand.”
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Several product names have been tweaked as well, with Ice Blue Detoxifying Shampoo and Conditioner replacing Iced Tea Shampoo and Conditioner, and Moisture Recovery Shampoo and Conditioner replacing Lotus Flower Shampoo and Conditioner.
The Village Company will not attend the rescheduled show, choosing to schedule office visits with retailers instead, but will likely participate in next year’s ECRM hair care conference, slated for early August.
Marc Anthony Cosmetics had planned to give retailers a look at its rebranded hair care line, Marc Anthony True Professional, the namesake line of Toronto-based hairstylist Marc Anthony. However, given that most large retail hair care accounts have already set their hair care planogram by October, the Canadian company opted not to attend the upcoming Hollywood show, said David De Giuli, vice president of worldwide sales for the brand. The rain check did not dampen De Giuli’s enthusiasm about the brand, which expanded its U.S. distribution last year to 22,000 doors. “We expect 2005 will be the biggest year yet with the relaunch,” he said.
Charles Worthington had planned to introduce its curl regimen, consisting of a shampoo, conditioner, curling conditioning sprays and creams. The collection aims to tap into the growing trend of big, voluminous curls, and is said to help women achieve a “well-engineered curly look.” The entire Charles Worthington collection will debut its newly revamped packaging and formulation in the U.S. this January.
Helen of Troy’s skin and hair care division Idelle Labs will likely have some representation at the rescheduled ECRM show, based on the retailers that choose to attend. “Even though the October show is pushing up against planogram season, you get a lot done in a short period of time at ECRM,” said Marc Broccoli, director of men’s category, marketing for Idelle Labs.
The division is in the midst of reintroducing the men’s hair care brand Vitalis to consumers and also aims to breathe new life into the former Unilever brand Brut — although the details of the brands repositioning are being held close to the vest for the time being, said Broccoli.
Shikai, which introduced a color-enhancing hair care collection in June called Color Reflect, will also set up shop at the rescheduled show. There, the natural hair care brand will preview Color Reflect’s line expansion of six styling items and a product specifically for men. As for the conference’s timing, Shikai’s vice president of sales Norm Banks commented, “I find that for most ECRM shows, it’s not only about the buying. It’s about the relationship-building.”