One glance at Henri Bendel’s storefront windows and the message is clear: the storied 114-year-old boutique in Manhattan is taking an inside-outside approach to beauty.
This story first appeared in the May 22, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Hot-pink letters plastered across the store’s Fifth Avenue entrance declare, “The Beauty Nutrition Revolution Is Here.”
Tucked inside the front doors is a towering display of FunctionaLab, a high-end range of health and beauty supplements that launched Monday. High atop the display of brightly colored bottles, jars and kits is the statement, “Beauty is the sum of its parts.”
FunctionaLab has set up shop in Henri Bendel, pushing the boundaries of its beauty department, as the women’s boutique prepares to exit the apparel category in August.
Ed Bucciarelli, chief executive officer and president of Henri Bendel, said, “FunctionaLab is a brand that not only resonates with our customers, but is the embodiment of our new and the next platform. The brand brings together beauty and nutrition in a high design concept that is both innovative and exciting.”
The gleaming white in-store FunctionaLab boutique, which measures roughly 125 to 150 square feet, is manned by dieticians toting portable computers for personalized nutrition analysis. After a 10-minute consultation, they then recommend products, including personalized four-week programs. FuncationaLab will be available exclusively in Henri Bendel through September, and is then slated for a broader roll out, said Erick Geoffrion, president and founder of FunctionaLab. Geoffrion — a Canadian entrepreneur who has also held several posts at beauty firms, including Make Up For Ever and the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. — then traded beauty for the burgeoning sector of energy drinks nearly 10 years ago, collaborating with several former athletes to create Base Concept, a functional foods and beverages company.
FunctionaLab is a joint venture with Atrium Innovations, which develops and manufactures myriad health and nutrition products. Dr. Barry Ritz, director, scientific affairs, Atrium Innovations, said FunctionaLab’s formulas are mined from the long tradition of making supplements, but the liquid forms — Health Drops and Nutrient Tonics — are what will get the most attention. “Beauty Dose will be the hook,” he said, referring to the five individual supplements for skin, hair and nails. Beauty Dose bottles retail for $55 each. FunctionaLab’s products range from $12 for basic supplements to $200 for certain Personalized Nutrition Programs, which include a month’s supply of supplements tailored to an individual’s diet and lifestyle. Industry sources estimated the brand could reach $1 million in first-year retail sales.
As for how cash-guarding consumers will respond to the products, Geoffrion said, “People are interested in feeling good and being in good health, adding that “putting lipstick on someone who doesn’t sleep won’t help them look better.”
Over the last decade, dietary supplement sales have increased to a $10 billion market in the North America, from $6 billion in 1998, according to Euromonitor International.
“Everyone is tip-toeing into it,” said Geoffrion. “We’re launching 100 [items] at one time.”