TOP NOTES

KAN DO: Yue-Sai Kan, who built a $30 million cosmetics business in China in only four years, has formed Yue-Sai Kan Holdings Ltd., which will be aimed at developing licensing agreements, primarily in apparel and accessories.
Marvin S. Traub, a consultant and former Bloomingdale’s chairman, has been recruited to implement the licensing program. He said the company will be looking for manufacturers who already have a plant in China.
Kan, a widely known TV personality in China, plans to base her licensing strategy on the same formula used to build her cosmetics business. The beauty company was founded on the idea that cosmetics should be formulated specifically for Asian women, and she plans to follow the same course in developing licensing businesses.
Kan’s cosmetics are now sold in 500 Chinese department stores, with a wholesale volume estimated at $30 million for last year. The projection for this year is reportedly $50 million.

TRACKING TREATMENT: The NPD Group, a data-research firm that created a division called BeautyTrends last year to track the department store fragrance and makeup businesses, has added skin care to its sphere.
Starting this month, BeautyTrends is compiling information on sales and market share by company and product, as well as the most popular price points in the various areas of the treatment business. The first reports will come out early in April, with data on the first three months of the year.

TAKE A POWDER: L’Artisan Parfumeur’s latest creation is for those women who consider the wearing of fragrance as an art form. In May, the Paris-based company will introduce Dessine Moi Un Parfum, a collection of five fragrances in pressed powder form. The scents — Lilas Blanc, Reine Poire, Rose Artichaut, Ultra Violette and Tendre Pistache — will be packaged in a wooden paint box along with, of course, a paint brush for each. Set to retail for $75, the item has been produced in a limited edition; around 1,000 will be sold in the U.S. at select L’Artisan doors, including the Henri Bendel chain and Fred Segal in Los Angeles.

BEATING THE DROM: Drom Fragrances International has hired perfumer Michel Almairac, who had been with Creations Aromatiques. In a statement, Drom said the move indicated its intention to beef up its fine fragrance business. Almairac will join Drom’s creative perfume team in Paris.

GLASS HOUSES: Emanuele Mazzei has stepped in as managing director of the U.S. division of French bottlemaker Brosse, replacing Jean-Luc Teinturier, who left the company late last year. Mazzei had been vice president of sales for the firm, which produces bottles for many upscale scents, such as Givenchy’s Organza and Lancome’s Poeme.
Meanwhile, Teinturier has reemerged as the U.S. and Canadian agent for Ramon Clemente SA, a Spanish producer of bottles and jars for fragrances and cosmetics.

THE NEW VAN CLEEF: Jean-Frederic Bernard, recently appointed general manager for Parfums Van Cleef & Arpels in Paris, is bent on coordinating the marketing plans of his firm, owned by Sanofi Beaute, with those of the family-owned jewelry company. “We have to go back to the roots of the brand,” he noted, saying he wants to marry the imagery of the fragrance house with the elegance of the jewelry.
While the company learns what Bernard, who succeeded Philippe Clin, describes as a new “way of life,” new product launches have been put on hold. Bernard, who previously was managing director of Sanofi in Spain, said no new scents will be introduced before next year, when a new women’s item will be launched. He pointed out that the women’s market provides greater opportunity and more cash flow to work with. Also, a women’s fragrance is an easier fit with jewelry imagery.
In December, Bernard hired Marie Laure de Villers, formerly of Jean Patou, as international marketing manager.

FLYING SOLO: Solo Soprani Blu, a new version of the Solo Soprani unisex scent, is slated to arrive in 1,080 Italian perfumeries in the last week of this month. The scent will roll out this spring to Switzerland, Spain, France, Japan, Korea and the Middle East. Satinine, producer and distributor of the Luciano Soprani fragrance stable, hopes Solo Soprani Blu will generate a retail volume of $1.3 million (2 billion lire) in its first year.
The Milan-based company reported that Solo Soprani, launched in July 1995, remains its best-selling scent, with Italian sales topping $2.7 million (4.2 billion lire) in 1996.
“Solo Soprani Blu complements Solo Soprani,” said Mario Usellini, vice president and chief executive officer of Satinine. “The new scent is different — it is more of an evening scent.”
Satinine is investing nearly $800,000 in this year’s ad campaigns, slated to break in trade magazines in March and on Italian TV in April. In addition, about 350,000 miniature sprays will be distributed in Italian perfumeries.

YOUTH BRIGADE: Coty is making a concerted effort to lure a younger crowd. On Feb. 3, the company launched a joint TV campaign for its Jovan Musk fragrances for men and women, using a split-screen narrative — a young man on one side and a female counterpart on the other — that underscores the differences and attractions between the genders. The spot, airing exclusively on MTV through Aug. 25, is meant to appeal to 14-to-24 year olds, according to the firm.

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