NEW YORK – L’Oréal is taking Decléor from spa brand to consumer retail-driven skin-care line.
The 42-year-old, French skin-care company — largely a professional business with the majority of sales coming from day spas and resorts — is turning its eye to the U.S. market.
The brand has spent the past year undergoing a “reawakening” — which is not to be confused with a “repositioning,” according to Laurie Lam, vice president of marketing at L’Oréal USA, managing the Decléor and Carita brands, during an interview at L’Oréal’s U.S. headquarters here in May.
She explained that instead of revamping the entire look and feel of the brand, her team is working to get closer to what the brand “was all about” when it was founded by Solange Dessimoulie in 1974. The pillars of Decléor — skin, body and mind — will shape all messaging going forward.
In the U.S. specifically, Lam estimates 30 percent growth for the brand in 2016, fueled by increased spa doors coupled with new retail accounts. Global increases for the brand are expected to be in the double digits.
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The U.S. is Decléor’s top priority right now, and the “brand reawakening” is in full swing. A logo change took place in January, as well as the rollout of new promotional and advertising materials. A press event, which focused on sensorial experiences, and the naming of a U.S. brand ambassador for the first time took place earlier this year, and the line is expanding its presence at retail across the country. In the two-year pipeline are freestanding stores and spas, including a Decléor flagship spa in New York City, Miami, Los Angeles or Southern California.
L’Oréal has been preparing for these moves for more than a year after finalizing the acquisition of Decléor and Carita from Shiseido Co. Ltd. two years ago, paying 227.5 million euros, or $315.4 million at current exchange, for the two skin-care brands. Industry sources estimate that two brands combined did more than $115 million in sales in 2015. It’s rumored that one bottle of Aromessence serum — the anchor product of the brand – is sold globally every 30 seconds.
“You can find an essential oil in every product in the range across all skin-care concerns. It’s never a brand that’s frayed from where it’s started. It’s always stuck to its DNA,” Lam said. The best-selling Aromessence Neroli Hydrating Oil Serum retails for $73 with Hydra Floral moisturizers ranging from $42 to $67.
Decléor has presence in more than 70 countries with more than 10,000 doors and select retailer distribution in places like Harrods, House of Fraser and Nordstrom.com. There are over 350 premium spa locations in the U.S.
Currently, 75 percent of Decléor’s business is professional, but this is changing. Within several years’ time, the brand projects that the U.S. business will be much more balanced between professional spas and specialty retailers. The goal is to build a hybrid consumer and spa brand. The line will hit select specialty retailers in 2017 and is already sold on e-commerce sites such as Dermstore.com and SkinStore.com.
“I was on vacation and somebody gave me the essential balm [Neroli Essential Night Balm], and it totally calmed my skin. I was using Clarins before, [but] I came back from vacation and ordered a few things,” said Mzia Shiman, the New York-based, celebrity facialist who was introduced to Decléor two decades ago. “It was working for me and working for my clients. I started using it on Mariah Carey and Naomi Campbell. I put everybody on it.”
Today, 80 percent of the product she uses comes from Decléor.
Lam said Shiman was her first call when shaping the brand ambassador strategy. The fact that the facialist was well-known industry-wide — coupled with the fact that she’s been organically using the products for 20 years — made her the first (and only) choice.
Shiman hosted a launch breakfast in February for Decléor’s antipollution range of products that (an Anti-Pollution Hydrating Active Lotion and an Anti-Pollution Gel Cream) that came out in March. Another event was held at the New York Edition in mid-May where Dessimoulie (also the global brand ambassador) was on hand to walk guests through Decléor’s updated look and feel.
Lam noted that the company made an effort not to showcase new product at this event.
“We did it intentionally without a launch. It was a risk,” said Lam, who added that guests were asked to submit their bags and jackets so they could have their hands free and experience a complete interaction and “feel” what the brand was all about.
The event was composed of six rooms with hands-on stimuli in each. For instance, a pulse room stimulated each guest’s pulse and measured breathing before and after experiencing a product, a brightening room allowed guests to control the brightness of the room with essential oils and a yoga instructor led a 10-minute power mediation session using Aromessence in a meditation room. There was also a social media steam wall where guests could write their message and then see it in steam.
“In every room you engaged with Aromessence in a way that you normally wouldn’t,” Lam said.
Up next for the brand is this month’s launch of two products: Aromessence Svelt Body Refining Oil Serum and Aroma Svelt Body Firming Oil-in-Cream, which retail for $72 and $66, respectively.
While the introduction of March’s antipollution range was decidedly more consumer-facing, this launch is professional, according to Lam. She explained that the two products were designed for use in tandem with Aroma Blend, the brand’s first custom-blended body treatments. A collection of four concentrates and three active oils, only available at spas and salons, are “tailored, body-shaping” products customized by the aesthetician based on the client’s needs (and used with the Svelt serum and cream).
Citing estimates that 40 percent of rituals in beauty salons are body-shaping treatments, Lam said the formulas target “four body obsessions” (refining, firming, improving circulation and reducing swelling in legs and waistline) that can be fused with active and essential oils in front of the client.
“It’s based on the area of concern and what they [the client] wants from a mood benefit. Are they sleepy? If so, then there is an active blend to address energy that contains citrus, peppermint and rosemary. If you need to relax, there is a blend with neroli, chamomile and sweet orange,” Lam said.