BEAUTY NOW SWEET AS CANDY
Byline: Laura Klepacki
NEW YORK — Chew on this.
Beauty brands have been built around fabulous designers like Calvin Klein and Donna Karan and fashion models Iman and Valeria. Just last week teen TV stars Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen unveiled a cosmetics line at Wal-Mart and Jennifer Lopez confirmed that a fragrance in her likeness is on the way.
But glamour isn’t everything in the beauty business. And an upstart Manhattan firm has been putting together its own kind of sweet deals. In a licensing agreement with Hershey Foods, Lotta Luv LLC is wrapping its first beauty venture around an old candy store favorite — bubble gum. Bubble Yum bubble gum, that is.
And before its first brand is even out of the gate, Lotta Luv has already signed a contract with another candy company — Tootsie Roll. This latest agreement allows Lotta Luv to develop beauty items around a host of Tootsie Roll brands including Charms, Junior Mints, Blow Pops, Dots and of course, the namesake chocolate.
Lotta Luv is a division of Designs by Skaffles, a global accessories manufacturer that began branching into beauty only a few months ago, beginning with a cosmetics collection for department and specialty stores called Honnie. The new Lotta Luv arm will focus on the development of licensed beauty brands, according to Steven Shweky, vice president of Designs by Skaffles.
Heading up Lotta Luv is president Steph Fogelson and Jeff Cohen, director of brand management. Both previously worked at The Xander Group on 2Grrrls, a youth line sold primarily through Target.
Bubble Yum beauty will start off with a focus on lip and body products. Shipping in April is an eight-stockkeeping-unit assortment that includes a lip balm stick and a lip gloss in a squeeze tube, both in original flavor. There are also lip gloss pots and mini lip balms in original, watermelon and grape flavors. The lip items contain vitamin E, aloe vera and sun protection. For the body, there is Bubble Burst Body Wash, Body Blast fragrance spray and Bubble Burst Bubble Bath, all in original scent. Suggested retail prices range from $1.99 to $3.99.
Packaging for Bubble Yum beauty is designed by Cohen, and closely follows that of the parent brand. The lively designs use lots of pink. The Bubble Yum beauty logo adds a mascot duck, featuring a pierced bill, spiked hair and choker collar.
The obvious target is tween and teen girls, but Fogelson insists the brand will have unisex appeal because of the general popularity of bubble gum. Cohen says the items, “explode with flavor and color.” Adds, Fogelson, “Our flavors are authentic.” Bubble Yum lip items are flavor-matched with the parent brand. Bubble Yum, a 27-year-old chewing gum brand, moves about 1.3 billion pieces a year or 3.6 million a day.
Bubble Yum beauty is expected to appear in mass doors, specialty candy shops and on convenience store counters. The brand will likely be developed into a full bath and body collection and future color items are likely to include scented nail polish and body glitter. Bubble Yum will be introduced in countertop displays and clip strips and can also be added to the cosmetics wall. It is also being offered to other sections of stores, such as the cash register area.
To promote Bubble Yum, Fogelson is hoping to piggyback on the national campaign for Bubble Yum bubble gum. But separately, the brand will pursue co-op ads with retailers. Sources predict Bubble Yum could reach retail sales of $5 million to $10 million.