FACE TIME FOR BLISS

Byline: Julie Naughton

NEW YORK — After offering some of Manhattan’s most popular facials for most of the past decade, Bliss founder Marcia Kilgore figured skin care would be a logical next step for her product lineup.
Kilgore’s first entry into the facial skin care category, Bliss Labs Spa Strength Skincare, has been an idea since she started her first salon, Let’s Face It, in June 1993. “I’ve always studied ingredients, observing what works and what doesn’t,” said Kilgore, who continued the process through founding Bliss in July of 1996 and merging with LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton in March 1999. “I always had a list of my favorite active ingredients. When we joined with LVMH, I had the chance to work with scientists and to really think seriously about making the skin care line happen.”
The product lineup is divided into four categories, each based on flash-distilled fruit waters. “We looked at our service menu and found that among our most popular services, the common thread was that they all included fruits and vegetables — like our Carrot Body Scrub — which was great, because a lot of these ingredients coincided with my favorite active ingredients list,” said Kilgore. “In the end, I decided to stick to the fruits, because I’d rather put a peach on my face than a turnip.” There are a few other reasons, too: “All living organisms need the same trace elements and minerals to grow. Fruit waters have a similar balance, with potassium, sodium and minerals. And these waters are flash-distilled, which means they are formed via a quick extraction process that preserves the elements and minerals without heating them too highly. We’re not promising to erase 10 years in 10 minutes, but we think people will see dewier, fresher skin with these products.”
The grapefruit water line, called Low Fat, is designed for oily skin. Middleweight, with orange water, is designed for normal skin. Fully Loaded, with peach water, is designed for dry skin, and Quiet Type, with apple water, is designed for sensitive skin. Each collection includes an 8.5-oz. cleanser, priced at $23; a 4.2-oz. exfoliator for $29; an 8.5-oz. toner, called “finishing rinse”, for $18, and a 1.7-oz. moisturizer for $36. These 16 stockkeeping units are rounded out by an additional two intended for all skin types: a 0.5-oz. eye cream for $26 and an 8.5-oz. eye makeup remover for $22.
The line will be launched in November in 101 retail doors, including select Sephora and Neiman Marcus doors, as well as the Bliss spas and the Bliss catalog. While Kilgore wouldn’t comment on expected sales, industry sources estimated that the line would do $8 million to $10 million in its first year on counter.
In typical Kilgore style, the energetic founder isn’t doing just one project right now: she’s working on several. In addition to spending the month in London in preparation for her first international Bliss location on that city’s Sloane Avenue in November, Kilgore is also doing long-range planning for a West Coast Bliss location, testing facial masks that she’s planning to add to Bliss Labs Skin Care next spring and writing copy for her next few Bliss catalogs.
So when does she sleep? “I don’t,” she says.