Makeup artists, perfumers, doctors and aestheticians are among those who’ve emerged from the shadows of the beauty industry to represent brands, but cosmetic chemists have largely remained obscure.
This story first appeared in the May 28, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Cosmetic chemist Vincenzo Spinnato, who has had a hand in beauty products sold everywhere from Trader Joe’s to Neiman Marcus, is working to change that with his new brand, Vincenzo Skincare. The brand, aimed at prestige distribution, is slated to hit shelves this fall with 10 skin care stockkeeping units and 25 bath and body sku’s ranging roughly from $32 to $180.
“I define a cosmetic chemist as a person that takes a concept, new ingredient technology and product marketing ideas and develops those ideas into a tangible product,” said Spinnato, who estimated he has helped conceptualize and formulate 32 brands in his 15-year career as a cosmetic chemist. “For the first time, I will show the actual person making all this.”
From a very young age, Spinnato, 35, dreamed of creating his own brand, as evidenced by folders filled in his teen years with sketches of logos and bottles. (He stores the folders at his Laguna Beach, Calif., home.) Ultimately, it took finding the right hero ingredient — black currant berries with antioxidant levels topping that of blueberries and raspberries, a result of being trapped under ice for the better part of a year in Iceland and Greenland — for the brand to materialize.
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“I wanted [the effect] to be so instant that customers can feel it in the store,” explained Spinnato of his rationale for choosing ingredients.
Spinnato believes the brand’s primary demographic will be 25- to 55-year-old women, although the berry and sea foam color scheme, and the logo — a large V echoed in the shapes of the bottles — used in the packaging are unisex to have widespread appeal. “I like really, really, really clean packaging,” he stressed.
Illustrating his versatility, Spinnato also is set to release a natural skin care brand for the fall called Aegean Skincare with 25 products in three scents — cherry almond, ginger citrus and green tea jasmine — driven by ingredients from the Aegean Sea. Aegean, which is an outgrowth of a stalled project to produce a line for the 2004 Summer Olympics in Greece, is priced from $16.99 to $56 and is targeting distribution in the natural sector at retailers such as Whole Foods.
Spinnato forecasts Aegean will generate $3.5 million in its first 18 months on the market and Vincenzo will generate $2 million for the same period. To get Vincenzo off the ground, he is spending $2.2 million on advertising, which includes a print campaign in magazines such as Vogue, Allure, Details, GQ, W and Vanity Fair. Spinnato’s life story is the subject of a book slated to launch in the second quarter of next year, and a reality show being produced by SokoLobl Entertainment, titled “Skin Deep,” could drum up publicity, as well.
“The cosmetic dynasties are all old clubs, and I feel that there is room for a new thing,” concluded Spinnato.