Byline: Cara Kagan

NEW YORK — Although the Cutex license has changed hands, the new owner, Jean Philippe Fragrances Inc., is not only continuing, but also stepping up the brand’s development.
Philippe is now shipping a battery of new product introductions, all designed to build market share in three key categories — nail color, treatment and lipstick.
This ambitious schedule follows Philippe’s acquisition of the Cutex license from Chesebrough-Pond’s last August.
“We are looking to aggressively build the Cutex franchise,” said Terry Augenbraun, president of Philippe’s Premier division, which was set up by the company to market its cosmetics and fragrance brands.
Augenbraun previously served as general manager of Chesebrough’s cosmetics and fragrance brands, one of which was Cutex.
“Jean Phillipe, as a company, is focused and dedicated to the mass color cosmetics and fragrance markets,” he said. “Chesebrough made the decision to concentrate on its prestige cosmetics and personal care brands.”
Earlier this month, the company started building the 30-year-old brand by shipping a new line of Cutex nail color, called Fresh Colors, complete with a matching lipstick collection and several new nail treatment products under Cutex’s Manicare 10 nail treatment umbrella.
Fresh Colors, with 21 shades, will join the two existing Cutex nail enamel collections — Strong Wear with Knox Gelatine, a nail enamel designed to strengthen weak nails, and Color Quick, a quick-drying formulation.
“The key to our success is market segmentation,” said Paula Cymerman, senior marketing manager of color cosmetics. “Cutex’s three distinct lines offer three completely different benefits. Our strategy has been to launch products that provide color plus an extra advantage. Strong Nail provides color plus strength and Color Quick is color plus convenience.”
The added twist behind Fresh Colors is long-wearing shine and a built-in top coat, designed to save consumers the extra step of applying a separate product over nail enamel.
“Our market research tells us that women want their nails to look as shiny on day five as they did on day one,” said Meg McEttrick, senior product development manager for color cosmetics and fragrance. “And they don’t want to keep applying more top coat to achieve the shine.”
In the spirit of such double duty items as combined shampoo and conditioner products and two-in-one moisturizing body washes, the company is marketing Fresh Colors as two-in-one nail enamel with a built-in top coat. An added feature is an expiration date stamped at the bottom of each bottle to let consumers know that the shine ingredient, called isobutyraldehyde, is still active.
Fresh Colors, which will have a suggested retail price of $2.50 per bottle, is expected to be rolled out to 15,000 mass market doors by the end of the year, Augenbraun said.
Cutex currently commands about 9 percent of the $300 million nail color market, according to company executives, or retail sales of about $27 million. Color Quick has a 4 percent share, or $12 million, and Strong Nail has 5 percent, or $15 million, at retail.
Augenbraun predicted that Fresh Colors would bring Cutex’s total nail enamel share up to 11 percent of the category, or at least $33 million.
Meanwhile, as the company looks to fortify its nail business, Cutex also plans to boost its lipstick business with the simultaneous introduction of a 12-shade line of Fresh Colors lipstick.
The company first ventured into lipstick in 1993 with the launch of Color Splash, a line of 18 conditioning lip colors with aloe and Vitamin E. Color Splash commands a 1 percent share of the $400 million lipstick market, or about $4 million at retail.
Fresh Colors, a sheer and glossy lip stain, will be aimed at women who prefer more natural coverage. Each shade will be priced at $3.50, as compared to Color Splash, which retails for just under $5.
Augenbraun projected that the new lip product will gain a 1 percent share in the first year, or $4 million in sales.
The company is planning to back the Fresh Colors franchise with $2.5 million worth of advertising and promotion. A print campaign will break in June magazines, including Cosmopolitan, Allure, Self, Glamour, Mademoiselle, Seventeen and Teen, and run through the end of the year.
Cutex will also have instant redeemable coupons on the launch displays, as well as mail-in rebates. Sampling is also part of the marketing mix. Cutex plans to distribute 300,000 samples via college campuses and mall sampling programs. There will also be 700,000 trial sizes, which will range in price from 99 cents to $1.19.
At the same time, Cutex will add six matte shades to the Color Splash line while phasing out the slow sellers.
“We see updating Color Splash’s shades as a way of maintaining our market share,” McEttrick said. “Mattes are still very popular in the mass market, and our original lineup did not contain many of them.”
Color is not the only thing on Cutex’s mind. The company is also expanding its presence in the nail treatment category.
Next month Cutex will add four new products to its Manicare 10 nail treatment system, which bowed last year.
The new items include liquid Nail Protein to treat damage caused by the use of artificial nails, Cuticle Therapy PM for nighttime intensive cuticle moisturization and Medicated Cuticle Rescue for severely raw and irritated cuticles. Each item will retail for $3.50 to $3.95 per bottle.
There is also a box of 14 Hand and Nail Nourishing Gel Capsules for $4.50.
The active ingredient in each item is the alpha-hydroxy acid complex found in the original Manicare 10 products. The existing Manicare 10 line-up, which is designed to strengthen nails and smooth cuticles, consists of a two-part nail care regimen. The routine includes a gel capsule designed to nourish, soften and smooth cuticles.
Step two is a brush-on Nail Developer with Knox Gelatine, proteins and vitamins, which is designed to strengthen and protect nails.
According to Augenbraun, Manicare 10 had retail sales of $4.5 million with just these two items in the first year.
The new additions, which will be rolled out to 15,000 mass doors by the end of the year, are expected to generate an additional $2.6 million in the first year. Cutex is supporting the Manicare 10 franchise with $2.5 million in print advertising, which will continue to run for the rest of this year. Additional funds will be allotted for couponing and rebates.
As with the original system, Cutex will offer a complete money back guarantee to consumers who have not achieved satisfactory results within 10 days.
“We think that Manicare 10 will pull in department store customers, both because of its therapeutic aspects and because of its ingredient story with the alpha-hydroxy acids,” Augenbraun said. “Also, the nail care capsules are a unique form for this class of trade, especially when it comes to nail care.”