HAIR CARE POISED FOR NEW ITEM FLUX

Byline: Andrea M. Grossman

PLANO, Tex. — Innovation coming from the hair care category this year could potentially shake many slow-moving items from retailer shelves.
No less than four new hair color lines are being launched in the first half of 2001, and many brand extensions in the highlighting segment are slated, too. A slew of hair care lines has also been created, some targeting current hair style trends, like curls, others addressing formula trends, like herbals. And styling, a category that’s experienced double-digit sales growth over the past two years, is poised to continue its success, as nearly every supplier addressed styling this year. The hottest trends include styling balms and root lifters.
Valerie Cheney, category manager for hair care at Happy Harry’s, clearly acknowledged the predicament the avalanche of new products will cause. “Somebody is going to have to take a hit in our department,” Cheney said.
Cheney was one of 100 buyers at the three-day Efficient Consumer Response Management hair care conference, which ran Sunday through Wednesday at the Westin Stonebriar Resort here. All manufacturer attendees — more than 100 representing 66 companies — were guaranteed at least 20 minutes of face time with buyers. There were some 60 retailers represented, including drugstores, discounters, supermarkets and wholesale distributors.
Among the show attendees was Clairol, who proved that despite the uncertainty of its ownership — Bristol-Myers Squibb put the company on the block in September — it has a sound 2001 business plan.
On the hair color front, Clairol is finally launching a domestic version of Herbal Essences Hair Color. Clairol introduced the hair color line under the wildly popular brand in the United Kingdom in mid-2000, which captured an 11 percent marketshare in London, according to Dominque Gigante, senior manager for hair color at Clairol. The product, however, will undergo several formula tweaks before hitting U.S. shelves in June, such as a more intense color base.
Also brewing within the Clairol business are three new styling stockkeeping units under the Aussie Real Volume brand. There’s a Styling Mousse, a Waterless Formula Hair Spray and Root to Tip Root Lifter. All three will retail between $4.99 and $6.99 and begin shipping March 15. They join existing Real Volume shampoo and conditioner sku’s.
Elements, a 15-year-old company based in Providence, R.I., is making a play for the mass trade with its wide and varied assortment of accessories focused at teens and young women. Elements showcased everything from picture frames, flower barrettes, rhinestone stickers for sunglasses to beaded elastics and body jewelry. Angelo Grilli, owner of Elements, explained to visiting retailers how his company can also create end-of-aisle displays and power wings, complete with product cards that match the color scheme of the made-to-order display stand. Elements, which manufacturers about 70 percent of its products domestically, started out as a contractor for manufacturers, providing fashion accessories to companies such as Contempo Casuals, Urban Outfitters, Wet Seal and May’s. These retailers continue to be the foundation of Elements’ business, but new clients such as CVS and Target — Elements provides product for Grl Lab and Xhiliration, respectively — position it to become a major player in the year to come.
Goody Products continues to upgrade its image, this time with slick-looking product cards on which hair accessories are stapled. The newer cards are colored a pastel blue, which fade to white at the bottom of each card. Styling icons have been implemented on the cards, signaling which barrette, clasp, brush or elastic is best for building volume, smoothing, defining curl or taming tangled hair. Goody hopes it can improve on the slow growth in hair accessories last year, which gained a mere two percent.
John Frieda Professional Hair Care will make educating consumers a focus point in 2001. Point-of-purchase displays, for example, will feature photos of models and step-by-step style directions and product suggestions so consumers can achieve the model’s look. And beginning this quarter, Frizz-Ease sku’s will tout a number system on bottles so consumers can sketch out the styling process. Maria Dempsey, vice president of marketing for John Frieda, said the number process “is really important in the creative process” of styling so consumers know for sure which product should be applied in which order. John Frieda is also launching a new product this quarter, called Mirror Image. The gel-like formula is heat activated and is meant to be applied after blow-drying. The gel is designed to make hair chunks appear “plastic-doll-like” but with movement. Dempsey likened the gel’s outcome to Britney Spears’ hairdo. Mirror Image will retail for $9.99 per 1.69-oz bottle.
L’Oreal is gearing up to launch several new hair care and hair color sku’s in 2001. Within the Feria line, L’Oreal will introduce Feria Iridescence, a three-sku line designed to make hair shimmer with multifaceted color. Feria Luminescence is available in Iridescent Bliss, Iridescent Bloom and Iridescent Blush.
Also under the Feria brand is an Extra Bleach Blonde sku, which will supplement an existing blond sku, Feria Extra. The Extra Bleach formula is designed, according to Michael Murphy, vice president of L’Oreal hair color, for those seeking bolder, blonder results. Also in hair color is a new line under the L’Oreal’s Excellence brand called Excellence Cremelights, a no-ammonia creme specially formulated for color-treated hair. Both Feria Iridescence and Excellence Cremelights launch March 1 and each will be supported by $16.5 million in advertising.
L’Oreal is also adding a new hair care line, called L’Oreal Paris Curl Vive. The shampoo and conditioning line is designed to keep curls curly and to protect them from frizz. Curl Vive addresses the full body hair trend and ships March 1 and will retail between $3.99 and $4.99.
Maybelline Garnier has big plans for 2001, too. This summer Garnier, which came onto the hair color scene in 1996 with Belle Color, will launch its third product, called Lumia. The new line will target the Gen X and Gen Y crowd, or women under 35, who are looking for a natural color look that will lighten or brighten their existing color. Lumia will take on a floral extract theme. Its formula, according to Walter Boyer, national sales manager for food accounts, “brightens natural color and leaves no visible roots. It is a non-drip, like Nutrisse, and will act as a brand for women who have never before used hair color, bringing in new users to the category.” Lumia ships in May, will include 24 color sku’s and will retail for $6.99, in line with Nutrisse’s price.
Prestige Brands, which came into existence in 1999 when it acquired Prell, has updated the shampoo brand many baby boomers grew up using. Prell, which is known by many 40- and 50-year-olds as the shampoo thick enough to suspend a pearl, has been updated to give boomers a shot of nostalgia, and to give the younger generation a new shampoo to consider. Shipping in April is Prell Spa Formula, a six-sku line of very colorful and intense smelling shampoos and conditioners. There is Color Care for color-treated hair, Volume Hair for fine hair and Hydra Hair for normal hair. To help stimulate sales, Prestige will run buy-one-get-one free offers for corresponding shampoos and conditioners, which will sell for around $3.
Progressive Beauty Brands also attended the show and featured a six-sku line of shampoo, conditioner and styling aids called Phat Hair. Each will retail for $3.29. Progressive also expanded its successful Tea Tree Oil Shampoo and Conditioner with Lotus Flower and Green Tea offerings. The six herbal inspired sku’s will also be packaged in a travel-sized pouches this April.
Revlon initiatives include a revamp of its ColorSilk hair color packaging. Buyers said Revlon is considering coming out with a new hair color line that will focus on providing rich color in under 10 minutes.

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