NEW YORK — Ahava no longer is the only brand floating in the Dead Sea.
This story first appeared in the November 6, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Added Extras LLC has introduced Minerals Dead Sea Collection for mass retailers, and Target is the first to market it with the initial six stockkeeping units.
“What is interesting is that Ahava has isolated the Dead Sea [beauty products],” said Michael Kaplan, executive vice president of marketing at Added Extras. “But in our economy, the cost is prohibitive for some consumers.” Kaplan said the company has manufactured, also in Israel, a comparable formula that is 100 percent paraben and sulfate free. He added the minerals found in the Dead Sea are replicas of minerals that are the composition of skin.
With the Dead Sea ingredients and natural positioning, Kaplan believes the line hits upon many consumer demands. “This line is designed to fit into any retailer from Whole Foods to Wal-Mart,” he said.
The initial six items include a salt scrub; a body lotion; an exfoliating body wash; a body butter; a mud bar soap, and a Dead Sea Salt Water. The latter item, Kaplan said, is 100 percent Dead Sea water and can be used as anything from a face wash to a spider bite treatment. “You can pour half of it into a bath and for $5 have a luxury spa-style treatment,” he said. Prices on the Minerals Dead Sea Collection range from $3.99 for soap to $9.99 for body lotion. Prices of Ahava products are estimated to be about 40 to 50 percent higher. For example, an Ahava body lotion has a suggested retail of $22.
Target presents Minerals Dead Sea Collection in its specialty bath department. Although Target is first to market, Kaplan believes the brand’s positioning fits other mass outlets, especially drugstores. “It will work well with the medicinal aspect of drugstores,” he explained. While the initial items are bath and body, newer items will be skin care, he added.
The mass market bath category is still in need of brisk sellers to liven up sales. According to The Nielsen Co., bath additive sales for the 52-week period ended Oct. 3 are $128.3 million, a decline of 12.2 percent. Kaplan hopes lines like his can attract shoppers back to what was once a buoyant category. “We find retailers are cutting back and there have been reductions in the fruity, run-of-the-mill items,” Kaplan explained. He believes his line fills a need in the mass bath universe.
Bath buyers added they are looking for the next magic elixir. “We know we can get this business back,” said a source at a top-four drugstore chain.
While some industry watchers wonder if shoppers are cautious of natural items in a penny-pinching world, Kaplan said buyers report consumers are not resistant to paying $1 or $2 more for natural or organic products.
Added Extras also just launched Skin Vitamins, an affordable 96 percent natural body wash, hand wash, antibacterial and scrub line housed in eco-friendly packages. It has also beefed up its kids’ licensing collection.