AVEDA NOURISHES ITS ROOTS

Byline: Julie Naughton

NEW YORK — Aveda’s never been afraid to take an unconventional view of things, and that tradition is continuing, even under the ownership of one of the cosmetics world’s most powerful companies, the Estee Lauder Cos.
Few companies wait 22 years to launch companion products; Aveda did so last May with its Rosemary Mint Shampoo, which has become one of Aveda’s bestsellers. Many companies aim to expand doors. Aveda has significantly consolidated its distribution and reduced the number of salons with which it does business.
Jeanette S. Wagner, vice chairman of the Estee Lauder Cos. and Aveda’s supervisor, obviously has no intention of slowing the momentum. Since last summer, she has installed a number of new managers — including Daria Myers, senior vice president of global marketing, who held the same post at Lauder’s Origins brand and joined Aveda in November; Sandy Cookerly Jones, vice president of marketing, who also joined Aveda in November, and Matthijs Tellegen, vice president and general manager of Aveda International, who came on board last June. There is talk in the industry that Wagner is also looking for a president for Aveda, which would be a new post.
During the first year or so, Lauder played to its strengths with its new acquisition, launching skin care and color cosmetics items. Last year, the company began reexamining its hair care roots, adding companion products to two existing hits and, this year, rolling out hair accessories and Sap Moss, a stand-alone hair care line.
But while more than 50 percent of the company’s overall volume is in hair care and a number of its recent introductions have been in that market, Aveda’s out to exploit its roots in other arenas, namely aromatherapy. It will launch a calming body oil and two cooling color cosmetics ranges, all in June. And the news will continue, promises Myers. “We’ve got news for nearly every month this year,” she said. “Aveda’s already got a great rhythm going — we’re just increasing the momentum.”
The aromatherapy-based entry is Blue Oil Balancing Concentrate. Packaged in a clear glass roller ball container, the product contains blue chamomile, peppermint and menthol and is designed to combine aromatherapy and acupressure — from the roller ball — to ease muscle discomfort and relax stress. It will retail for $12.
The new color cosmetics ranges are Cooling Calming Cover Sheer Face Tint, a translucent stick foundation, and Cooling Calming Color Eye/Cheek Tint, a stick color formula. Both will retail for $18. The translucent face tint will be available in six shades, ranging from Alabaster Glass, a pale cream, to Walnut Veil, a deep mocha. The eye-cheek tint will be available in four shades, ranging from Light Quartz, a pale pink, to Almost Dawn, a vibrant peach.
Cooling properties set these products apart from other stick foundations and color cosmetics, said Peter Matravers, vice president of research and development for Aveda. “We have done research that proves that these formulas can actually lower skin temperatures by up to 5 percent,” he said. “They are 48 percent water, and they’re perfect for use after a workout or when it’s very hot outside.” Both are also oil free and designed to moisturize skin, and contain vitamins C and E and lavender, lime and citrus essences.
The new products will be carried by Aveda’s Environmental Lifestyle Stores and by its concept salons, and will be promoted with in-store displays, demonstrations and literature. Aveda sources wouldn’t comment on projected first-year sales, but industry sources estimated that, together, Cooling Calming Color and Cooling Calming Cover would do about $6 million the first year, and Blue Oil Balancing Concentrate would do about $2 million in the same time.
But while the company is touting new products, it is focusing its advertising dollars on the three-year-old hypoallergenic All Sensitive line. The products will be promoted in-store; the All Sensitive line of shampoos, conditioners and skin care products will be promoted in the June issues of Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Mademoiselle, Allure and InStyle. Myers wouldn’t comment on what Aveda was spending on the campaign, although industry sources estimated it was about $500,000.
“Normally, we wouldn’t be concentrating major marketing efforts on a three-year-old line,” said Myers, “but this line is an exception.”
Part of that is because the company wants to promote a newly finished study that claims the All Sensitive Line is as gentle as water. The study took the products through a lineup of tests — first on laboratory-grown human skin cells, then on people. The line was also tested against other leading skin care products that claim to be gentle.

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