Clarisonic is moving from the face to the feet.
This story first appeared in the September 27, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
As part of its drive to address multiple concerns all over the body, Clarisonic will next week launch the Pedi, a $199 device that comes with a smoothing disc made from stainless steel, a buffing-brush head for wet or dry usage and three topical products: 6-oz. Pedi-Buff, 3.5-oz. Pedi-Balm and 30-ml. Pedi-Boost.
Clarisonic is following a two-pronged distribution strategy by rolling out the Pedi to dermatologists’ offices and spas as well as QVC and its 2,500 retail doors in the U.S., including Sephora, Nordstrom, Ulta and Macy’s. Industry sources estimate that it will generate roughly $20 million in first-year sales at retail.
“We really wanted to extend the idea of skin transformation from head to toe,” said Carol Hamilton, president of L’Oréal USA’s luxury products division. “We know that about two-thirds of women have pedicures done. While it is a luxury and a service women look forward to, it is often a service they can’t afford every two weeks, or they don’t have time for an hour to keep their feet as beautiful as they’d like them to be. For the price of three urban pedicures, this device gives you the ability to keep your feet in perfect shape in between professional pedicures.”
L’Oréal USA has done its homework on foot care to understand the market for the Pedi. It found 86 percent of American women regularly care for their feet at home manually, primarily with brushes or pumice stones. “We wanted to find a way to elevate the experience,” explained Katie Gohman, vice president of marketing for Clarisonic. “They are looking for the hardened areas of their feet to be smoothed and transformed into softer, sandal-ready feet. With this product, we can provide 10-times-smoother feet than manual buffing alone in the same way that our facial devices provide six-times-better cleansing than with your hands alone.”
Translating Clarisonic’s message to feet won’t be without speed bumps. The Pedi marks the debut of a Clarisonic device that incorporates a part without bristles — the filelike smoothing disc — and customers are going to have to get accustomed to it. “The marketing challenge is going to be customers are going to see a handle and they are going to say, ‘It is a Clarisonic handle. I can buy Clarisonic parts for this handle.’ You can’t,” said Dr. Robb Akridge, cofounder and global general manager of Clarisonic. “The amount of power coming out of the Pedi motor is more. The smoothing disc is actually moving at about 10 to 16 millimeters per second back and forth, so the amplitude is different from the face brush that goes between 6 and 12 millimeters.”
Then, of course, there’s the price. Cheap pedicures can cost significantly less than the $199 Pedi, but Clarisonic believes the price tag won’t dissuade customers. “It is very analogous to when the facial cleansing brush was launched. Who would have thought that a $200 brush would have replaced a washcloth or your hands? The results were so amazing that people understood why they should invest the $200,” said Anne Talley, general manager for Clarisonic. “We see this in the same way. It is really an investment. It is going to last a really long time. It has a two-year warranty, and we stand behind the quality of the product.”