Disappointed by the available skin care products for her 15-year-old and 10-year-old daughters and their friends, Dermalogica founder and mother Jane Wurwand decided to create Clean Start, a new brand for teenagers and preteens.
This story first appeared in the March 27, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Wurwand jokes that Clean Start is like a training bra for skin care — it’s intended to be simple, not pigeonholed to a specific concern, and to ready consumers for adult solutions once they’re necessary. The brand builds on Dermalogica’s more than 20 years of addressing skin care problems, to help adolescent boys and girls with acne to combat breakouts and to help those without acne maintain clear skin.
“We wanted to introduce a set of products that would be the first skin care products you are going to use,” said Wurwand. “Everything that was out there was mass, pretty drying, pretty harsh, not very cool, very frivolous, girly, cute, perfumed, glittery, girl-oriented or boy-oriented and not very serious.”
Dermalogica developed Clean Start with the assistance of a roughly 20-member council of youngsters aged 12 to 20 years old who reviewed the packaging, marketing efforts and product formulas and names. They informed Dermalogica, for instance, that Clean Start must multitask for teens on the go, be gender neutral to appeal to males, have a cool factor not present in their parents’ products and perform for varying skin types and issues.
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“What we heard from them loud and clear is that they had used products to treat breakouts, but they end up with extremely dry skin, and they don’t want that,” said Wurwand. “They were looking for a more sophisticated result than I think a lot of people expect them to.”
Dermalogica attempted to foster coolness by featuring images of California, where the company is based, inside boxes and opting for fun product names. The eight products in the initial assortment are: 6-oz. Wash Off cleansing wash for $20; 4-oz. All Over Clear toner for $18; 2.5-oz Ready, Set, Scrub masque and scrub for $21; 2-oz. Welcome Matte SPF 15 lotion for $24; 2-oz. Brighten Up SPF 15 lotion with natural tint for $24; 2-oz. Bedtime for Breakouts breakout treatment for $22; .30-oz. Hit the Spot concentrated spot breakout treatment for $22, and .30-oz. Smart Mouth Lip Shine lip shield for $16. A kit with mini sizes of five products is $35.
Unlike most of Dermalogica’s products, Clean Start products are sold in locations without professional skin therapists. Dermalogica’s push beyond spas, medi-spas and doctor’s offices began last year when shave products were released and distributed to barbershops. With Clean Start, Wurwand said Dermalogica is reaching out to destinations, particularly tanning, hair and nail salons, where teenagers congregate. Dermatologist’s offices, with which Dermalogica has existing relationships, will also be important venues to introduce teens to Clean Start.
In its first year, Wurwand estimated that Clean Start would enter 5,000 U.S. doors and she said she would be “surprised” if the brand did not generate “at least $2 million” in sales during that time. Eventually, she expects Clean Start to surpass Dermalogica’s namesake brand’s domestic door count of 7,000. In the middle of this year, Clean Start is slated to go beyond the U.S. to some 50 countries.