Less is more with Samy Salon Systems.

In what is emerging as a company strategy, the Tampa, Fla.-based hair care maker is downplaying the showman who helped catapult the brand into thousands of mass market stores in 2005 and instead is letting Esencia — its newest line, one that takes a natural positioning with organic ingredients — speak for itself.

This story first appeared in the February 13, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Known simply as Samy, the Cuban-born hairstylist grew to fame in 2000 with his powerful hairstyling pitches on HSN. Today, the company has an estimated $65 million in retail and TV sales. The fact that Samy is now taking a backseat — promotionally at least — to let his newest line take center stage, could signal a switch for the brand: Last year when he launched Istyle, a line of styling products, the focus was also on the product’s name, followed with “by Samy” in a smaller font. Samy items have traditionally emblazoned products with the Samy name on the packaging.

According to Sam Menaici, the company’s chief executive officer, “We want the lines to stand on their own merit. We want the consumer to understand that the brand we are launching is a problem-solution product brought to the market with the credibility of the hairdresser.”

Esencia is a result of a challenge made by Menaici to Samy who saw an opportunity in the mass market with a naturally positioned line.

“I challenged Samy and Sara [Samy’s sister who works as executive vice president of the company] to come up with a line that was natural and that worked. I wanted it to be as natural as possible, have certified organic ingredients and it had to work.”

Subsequently, each item in the line is infused with a naturally derived fragrance and organic ingredients that are key to each products’ performance. A placard on the back of products lets users know exactly what is in each item and what each is designed to do.

Products include White Lotus Hydrating shampoo and conditioner, which use barley and nettle for moisturization and frizz control. Mandarin Citrus Volumizing Shampoo contains horsetail and wheat to address fine hair. A Coconut Conditioning Treatment uses shea and sweet almond to moisturize and strengthen hair. Rosemary Natural Hairspray, with flax seed and jojoba, uses pine resin and flax seed for hold, jojoba for moisturizing and rosemary extract for shine.

Items sell for $7.99 each.

Esencia by Samy is currently rolling out to Rite Aid and Walgreens stores, more than 10,000 units, and is estimated to generate about $25 million in sales in its first year. To get consumers to try the products, each shampoo and conditioner item is accompanied with a “Try Me Free” mail-in rebate. Styling items have a $3 mail-in rebate.

A print advertising campaign has been created, which is slated to appear in magazines with a natural beauty bent.

For now, the line will be merchandised within the main hair aisle, as opposed to natural care sets that certain retailers, such as Target, have created. The reasoning behind this, said Menaici, is that the brand is looking for the general market consumer who has not yet gravitated to shopping natural sets.

“She’s still shopping the main hair care aisle, at least at this point,” said Menaici.

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