Byline: Cara Kagan

NEW YORK — Sassaby has learned not to underestimate the purchasing power of teenage girls.
According to industry sources, the company’s Jane cosmetics line, which is aimed at this audience, is likely to end its first year July 1 with sales running up to 20 percent ahead of projections. This would result in a wholesale volume of up to $18 million.
In year two, Jane is counting on doing more of the same. The company is reportedly seeking to double its volume.
While company executives declined to comment on specific sales projections, they did indicate that the brand is on track to achieve this kind of growth.
“In the first three months of this year, we have sold more than we sold in the seven months we were on the market in 1994,” said Don Petit, president of Sassaby Inc.’s cosmetics division, which makes the brand.
Jane plans to achieve this aim through adding more doors in mass merchandisers and breaking into the chains starting next year.
Broadening its product assortment is also on the list. In January, Jane will expand its collection of makeup basics through adding trendy, fashionable items — such as One For All, a cream stick that can be used to shade the cheeks, lips and eyes.
The line, which was initially distributed in 800 Target and Wal-Mart doors, is now sold in a total of 3,500 locations. Other mass merchandise accounts include Kmart of Troy, Mich.; Meijer Inc. of Grand Rapids, Mich., Hill Department Stores of Canton, Mass.; Shopko of Green Bay, Wis., and Venture Stores of O’Fallon, Mo.
Jane is also available in F&M Distributors, a deep-discount drugstore chain, based in Warren, Mich.
According to Petit, the line will roll out to a total of 4,000 to 4,500 doors — mostly deep discounters — by the end of the year.
Next year, however, the company plans to spread its wings into drugstores.
“We will get aggressive in the chains in 1996,” Petit said.
In addition, Jane will augment its 144-item line as another part of its second year strategy.
Petit noted that in January the company will start adding another 30 to 40 stockkeeping units to the line’s product assortment.
In the hopes of finding hot new products, Jane has been using promotions to test new concepts. So far, the company has had three, each of which has focused on the lips, which according to Petit, is the most popular area of the face to make up with Jane’s target audience — teenage girls.
“Young girls in our audience are really hot for lip products,” he said. “They are the easiest item for them to use so they are willing to be more experimental and try new things.”
He added that the company’s Shaping Sticks lip pencils were its best- selling items.
Grin and Bare It, this season’s promotion that has been in stores for the last two weeks, is built around four items with sheer finishes, including eight shades of Barely Lips lipstick and Barely Nails nail enamel. There are also six shades each of Soft Shakes loose powder and One For All.
One winner to emerge out of the spring promotion is the six shades of Barely Lips sheer lipsticks, which the company is now planning to incorporate into its main assortment in January. Petit added that One For All will also most likely be a keeper.
Petit noted that in the two weeks Grin and Bare It has been in stores, it has represented 20 percent of Jane’s overall volume during that time period.
“We expect our seasonal promotions to represent 10 to 15 percent of our annual sales,” he said.
Grin and Bare It follows Jane’s November Hip Lips promotion, which grouped one of the company’s existing lip glosses with a Vitamin E lip conditioning stick together for a new item, called Hip Lips, in a vinyl case. Hip Lips was created to have the long-wearing and full coverage color of a lipstick with the moisturizing benefits of a gloss.
Jane will continue to promote lip color for the back-to-school sales period, when the company ships its four-item Mouth Makers promotion in July.
The new items are eight shades of Lip Dips, a glossy, full coverage pot lip color; six shades of Lickety Stick, a sheer lip stain in a tube; eight Shades of Poutabouts, a moist wand lip gloss designed to make the lips appear plumper, and eight shades of One Liners automatic lip-lining pencils.
As with all Jane items, each of the new items will have a suggested retail price of $2.99.
“The idea is to make a range of lip products to give people a reason to buy more than one item in a category,” Petit said. “This is a great area for us to innovate in since there hasn’t been much news in that market for the last few years.”
But new lip items aren’t the only things Jane has up its sleeve.
“We don’t want to be known only as a lip company,” he added. “So we will probably come back in with something innovative for eyes for our next promotion.”