PLANO CALLS ON TEENS TO HELP DESIGN LINE

Byline: Laura Klepacki

NEW YORK — Teen brands have made a big splash in cosmetics. But do high school girls want their own bath and body lines, too?
Caboodles, for one, thinks they do.
Based on responses from teen focus groups, the company, which now offers cosmetics, cosmetics boxes and accessories, is planning to introduce a new collection this fall. The packaging, fragrances and ingredients are all tailored to match what teens say they want. Details, including final scent selection, are still being settled.
“There is an opportunity for teen lines at mass,” said Leonie Mateer, a special consultant to Caboodles’ parent Plano Molding Co. After polling and talking to some 300 students, Caboodles executives found that teens shop across all channels, but a majority favor specialty stores. “So we are creating a line to take a specialty store-type look into the mass market. That’s what you would have to do to entice teens.”
Of the teens polled by Caboodles, 65 percent said they shopped specialty stores, 43 percent shopped mass merchandisers, 33 percent drugstores and 38 percent department stores.
Mateer believes teen bath and body is a viable niche because it is a category the age group is heavily involved in. When it comes to purchasing decisions, 94 percent of the teens said they make the product selection. Parents came in at 15 percent. As for who foots the bill, it seems to be a shared expense: 66 percent said they pay, 73 percent said parents pay and 43 percent said they get products as gifts.
The new Caboodles collection will contain body wash, body moisturizer, bubble bath and bath salts, shampoo and conditioner, antibacterial hand gel, shimmer body powders, bar soap, candles, fizzy bath balls, and facial cleanser, scrub, mask and moisturizer.
Teens said they want products that leave them feeling clean, fresh and smelling good, according to Mateer. They stressed they wanted “yummy smells” and “great packaging.” Their favorite products include body moisturizer, shampoo and conditioner and face cleanser.
Bottles are the package of choice of teens, followed by tubes. Beyond that, teens said they like distinct packaging for each product category, so the shampoo bottle will not look like the facial cleanser. “We have created all new molds — nothing used is existing,” said Mateer. Moreover, she said, “Teens want to see the ingredients.” That means the bottles will be clear.
“We are limited as to ambiance in the mass market store. We can’t put in big buckets of fruit. So we have to use unique packaging that pops and creates a feeling of freshness,” said Mateer.
Added Toni Guy, trend forecaster and product developer for Leonie Mateer Consulting, “None of the packaging will be too big. We wanted it to still look cute for teens.” Ultimately, Caboodles wants to create a teen bath and body destination in mass stores and is presenting retailers two-foot, three-foot and four-foot displays. The shampoos will be merchandised alongside bath and facial items.
Caboodles cosmetics and boxes will continue to be merchandised in the cosmetics department. But the company hopes to create a synergy between its cosmetics and bath and body items. The shower gel may contain suspended stars and other particles like the Caboodles lip gloss.
The collection will come in six fragrances. While the shades have been finalized, scent selection is expected next week after a final meeting with a teen group on Friday.
“Teens actually have a very mature nose,” noted Guy. “They don’t like the simple note. They like a mixture of fruit and floral. In the line, there will be some floral, some fruity floral and some fresh, clean fruity scents.” Teens want a lot of fragrance, she noted. “We started off at one percent and realized it had to go up to two percent.”
While the collection is designed for teens, “We expect young 20-somethings and people into trends and fashion will also pick up the line, too,” said Guy.
On average, teens now pay $5 to $7 for their bath and body items. Caboodles will be priced in the $3.99 to $4.99 range. “We have to compete at the mass market level,” said Mateer.
It is hard to make sales projections, said Mateer. “We are really creating a whole new category at mass….We would like to do $20 million in 2001.” For one, Caboodles thinks it could have a hit with its antibacterial gels to be offered in regular and purse sizes. “Ninety percent of teens say they use it,” reported Mateer. “It is a huge teen item, and they are not buying it at mass. I think teen bath and body can be new money to mass.” Added Guy, “Up to now, most excitement has been generated by specialty stores.”

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