LAFCO READIES GREEK SKIN CARE LINE FOR U.S.
Byline: Julie Naughton
NEW YORK — Some people relax on their European vacations; Jon Bresler, owner and president of Lafco, hunts for new beauty items to import.
On his last trip, Bresler found a three-year-old Greek skin care line that he will launch here in late January.
The aromatherapy-based collection, produced by Athens-based Korres Natural Products, was introduced in 1996 by Greek pharmacist George Korres. It is currently distributed in pharmacies in Greece, Portugal and Belgium and includes more than 40 stockkeeping units.
Bresler will bring 30 of these units to the U.S., including four everyday facial care products; two facial scrubs; three intensive facial moisturizers, and three everyday facial moisturizers, all for women; a deep facial moisturizer and aftershave for men; six unisex sun protection products, and five unisex herbal soaps. The products range in price from $13 for SPF 4 to 6 Face Cream to $24 for Antioxidant Skin Defense Capsules.
As might be expected, bringing a foreign skin care line — particularly one whose packaging doesn’t include much English — presented a few challenges, something that Bresler has spent the last two months trying to resolve.
“Not only did we need to narrow the range to make it relevant to U.S. markets, because most of the packaging was in Greek, we also had to redo it in a way that would stay true to the company’s philosophy — offering products that are effective but not costly,” said Bresler. “George Korres believes that a consumer should be able to get a complete skin care line for under $100.”
Korres and Lafco are partners in the U.S. rollout. “We both have strong identities, and since we are partners in the U.S. line, we had to come to an agreement that suited both of us,” said Bresler. The new packaging is not yet final, although it definitely will include both Greek and English and both the Lafco and Korres names, said Bresler.
Due to language differences, not all of the product names translated well, so Bresler opted to rename a number of them for the U.S. market. “For instance, there is a honeysuckle cream that has a lot of antioxidants, which translated simply as Night Cream. We didn’t feel that expressed the character of the product, so we read the text of the ingredients and named it Repair Cream.”
While Bresler declined to talk numbers, industry sources estimated that the Korres line would do about $1 million retail in the U.S. during its first year of release.
Industry sources also estimated that Lafco’s retail sales will top $7 million this year, with more than 60 percent done with luxury soap lines like Claus Porto.
The line will have a six-month exclusive with Beautyjungle.com and then likely will roll out to an unspecified number of the 2,500 specialty stores and upscale pharmacies already in Lafco’s distribution structure.
According to Bresler, one major advantage to launching the line with Beautyjungle.com is visibility. “The Beautyjungle.com editors will write about the line, which will raise awareness,” said Bresler. In addition, he said, Beautyjungle.com will spearhead a sampling campaign that aims to put 25,000 samples of the line into consumers’ hands by the end of March.
And there’s another reason the Internet was chosen as a growth vehicle for Korres: “We view Korres as an upscale line, but we’re not sure how the upscale market will respond to such a price-accessible collection,” said Bresler.
“But on the Internet, there is much more of an acceptance of mixes of products and price points.”