IMAGO’S SAVVY SWISS SKIN CARE

Byline: Cassandra Chiacchio

NEW YORK — Scarlett Messina, owner of beauty boutiques in Philadelphia and New Hope, Pa., prides herself on her eclectic variety of products. It’s no surprise then that among Messina’s treasure trove is a little-known, Swiss-based skin care line called Imago.
The line, created by esthetician Sonja Schneider, was designed to “support and pamper” the skin throughout its different skin renewing cycles. Schneider was also involved with the development of La Prairie, another Swiss-based company.
Messina has carried Imago since April and has handled the U.S. distribution for the line through her KMR distribution division. Ever on the lookout for quality products, Messina heard about the line through the grapevine and decided to investigate. After discovering its popularity in Europe and Asia, she became determined to bring it to the U.S.
“I saw the Imago line and knew I had to be in control of this,” Messina said. Not that it was at all easy for her to get the distribution rights. “They are very savvy,” she noted. “I had to prove to them it wasn’t going to be in any lousy places.”
The line includes Gentle Face Wash, Controlled Exfoliation, Vital Protection Complex, Rich Refirming Formula, Basic Skin Conditioner, Daily Moisturizer, Essential Concentrate Creme, Eye and Lip Contour Creme, Tender Booster Mask and Skin Vitality Treatment. Prices for the 13-item line range from $25 to $80.
Imago’s collection also includes 28 day treatment disks in three varieties — Cyclogram, Menogram and Dermagram. The capsules, enclosed within packaging that resembles birth control pill compacts, help regulate the skin through various hormonal changes. “I like to call it the Betty Ford for skin care, 28 days and you’re feeling better,” said Messina.
The line can be found in the Scarlett boutiques, in Fred Segal Apothia in Los Angeles, Henri Bendel in New York, E6 Apothecary in Boston and JD’s Cosmetic Essentials in Westport, Conn. According to industry sources, the line should do approximately $700,000 at retail in 2001.
Imago also has its own Internet site, Imago.ch, an informational Web site that directs U.S. customers to Scarlett’s e-tail site at Scarlettcos.com.
Although Messina wants to keep distribution tight, she does plan to add between three and five major new accounts in 2001. “We don’t want it to sit on a shelf, but we don’t want it in a bath shop either.” Training is also important to Messina. “This is a clinical skin line. People that sell it should be trained to use it,” she said seriously.
As for the coming new year, Messina hopes that Schneider, Imago’s founder, will be doing in-store visits this spring.

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