NEW YORK — Now, men are getting their own bath accessories, too.

This story first appeared in the May 22, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Marketers and retailers have pegged the men’s category as one of the target markets to revive sagging beauty sales. There’s a barrage of new men’s grooming items, from shampoo to skin care. Retailers are ripping up shelves to set up special men’s areas.

With that as a backdrop, bath company Schroeder & Tremayne decided to give men their own bath accessories. The firm, known for brands such as Garden Botanika and Elizabeth Spa, feels men deserve more masculine items. The result is BathGear, a collection of shower accessories under the marketing umbrella of “Get Clean, Get Energized.”

Most notable is the use of masculine colors blue and black, designed to appeal to men, according to Connie Curran, group manager personal care for Schroeder & Tremayne. Many existing bath products are often available only in more feminine colors, retailers noted. Beyond that, Curran added, is the use of new manufacturing technologies making the items easy to use. BathGear ships later this summer for back-to-school. Prices range from $1.49 to $4.99.

With stock keeping unit optimization being the mantra at retail today, Schroeder & Tremayne ensured each item has a “clear-cut point of difference,” said Tonya Robinson, product manager. “We are offering a tight assortment that consists of five products for the entire body.” The pegged items require only 18 inches of space and will be launched in a promotional side panel.

The items include a Buff Up Body Sponge; Tone Up Back Strap; Lather Up Soap Pouch; Extreme Reach Brush and Dual Action Sponge. Robinson said the Dual Action sponge has a unique material that expands when wet and a dual surface for multitask cleaning. “Men want products that are easy to use and targeted specifically to them” she added.

They also like finding items in their own area, said Curran, who believes the best merchandising area is with the men’s shower and body wash selections. Although men are using some items positioned in women’s specialty bath, they do want their own, she suggested. Curran added that studies show more men are making their own purchasing decisions.

She said although discounters have ample space to build a men’s department, she believes men want to find the items at drugstores they consider convenient.

Schroeder & Tremayne also continues to build its natural accessories, which are netting more shelf space in specialty bath. In its Garden Botanika collection, the firm is adding Botanika Basics, a value-priced line of body lotions, body creams and cleansers to be initially sold online and via catalogues, but will be available to mass, food and drug stores.