BARBIE: A DOLL OF A COSMETICS LINE
Byline: Faye Brookman
NEW YORK — Barbie has been everything from a pilot to president. Now, the world’s most popular doll will be the star of an entire new cosmetics, bath and body line.
Manufactured by Cosrich Group Inc. of Bloomfield, N.J., the new line of 40 stockkeeping units is part of Mattel Inc.’s efforts to reinvigorate the 41-year-old icon. Fresh, more contemporary graphics are being rolled out to all of Mattel’s Barbie properties from hair care appliances to apparel.
The Cosrich program replaces older Barbie licensed toiletries once made by the defunct Tsumura company.
“The Tsumura products were very traditional. This new line is fresh and clean,” explained Debbie Baker, vice president of marketing for Cosrich, which also has the licenses for properties such as Pokemon and Teletubbies.
Several retailers said that the Barbie beauty products — which are targeted at girls age eight and up — fill a void between very young items like Hello Kitty and older girl products such as Jane.
The new lineup will start hitting mass market counters in July. There’s a full assortment of cosmetics including lip, nail and body glitter priced from $1.99 to $6.99. The bath and body collection includes shampoos, bubble baths and body products priced under $2.99. What makes the bath collection unique, said Baker, are innovative packaging twists such as a flexible pouch with a removable charm bracelet.
Other items, such as the nail polish, feature collectible charms. Whimsical names include Cotton Candy Bubble Bath, Fruit Splash Body Wash and Berry Purple Shampoo. Industry sources expect the line will exceed first-year retail sales of $5 million.
The packaging was designed as a collaboration among Handler, a design firm in New York, Memo Productions and Mattel’s in-house creative group, which is comprised of Cynthia Rapp, vice president of worldwide Barbie Licensed Products, and Betsy Clapp, creative manager. “The products are kid-tested and mom-approved,” Rapp said.
Baker said the add-on charms make the products more interactive and help separate the Barbie line from a host of contenders targeting teens.
“Retailers tell us we need to make products that are interactive rather than just slapping a label on them,” she added.
Cosrich will engage in cross-marketing programs with other Barbie licensees. For example, a young customer purchasing a Barbie blow dryer might receive discounts on Barbie toiletries.
Mattel is pumping new money and talent into Barbie to help stretch the age group desiring to wear the Barbie logo. Baker said retailers have reacted positively because the line is fashion forward, but with a renowned name. She said Barbie has a 98 percent recognition factor with all consumers.
Barbie, however, will have to fight off the encroaching competition from other youth brands such as Caboodles, Jane and private label offerings being created by retailers. But retailers say that there is enough interest in teen lines to support multiple offerings. Many chains are devoting footage on shelves to youth products and creating entire endcaps with teen-friendly merchandise. Some mass merchants are expected to pull together multiple Barbie products in one display to inspire multiple purchases.
Also new in bath from Solar Cosmetic Labs Inc. is a holiday gift program under the Body & Earth logo. Based on the success of Body & Earth in 1999, the company is creating more value-added baskets. This year, the company has added coordinating potpourri and picture frames as well as a collection of silver wire baskets. Suggested prices range from $5.99 to $19.99.
Mass-market retailers have noticed an upswing in shoppers’ interest in not just skin-care patches, but also masks. One new entry is Biological Face Lifting from Robanda International Inc. of San Diego, Calif. Ingredients include collagen, vitamin E, elastin, gingko piloba extract and aloe vera.
“Biological Face Lifting was created by a leading Swiss laboratory called BCM. It is a unique product and consumers see an instant lift to the face after application,” said David Leib, president of Robanda, the exclusive distributor for the product for North America.
Biological Face Lifting has a suggested retail of $8.95 and will be available at beauty supply stores, salons, beauty specialty shops and select mass doors.
Leib expects that the two-pronged form of distribution will fuel growth at retail. “The salons want to buy from us as a treatment. This can only enhance the product at retail because our hope is consumers will want to buy it for home use,” explained Leib. Industry sources estimate the product will achieve retail sales of $2 million in the first 18 months of distribution.
Fran Wilson Creative Cosmetics is also extending its L de Le Retinol line with a new L de Le Retinol Vitamin A hand Cream with SPF 15.
“The skin on the hands takes the most punishment and requires the most protection,” said Herb Wilson, co-chairman of the company. “Our hand cream moisturizes the hands with a select group of emollients — including vitamin E, glycerin and shea butter.” Wilson added that there’s also a new eye product on tap. L de Le Retinol Vitamin A Eye Gel is designed to treat skin around the eyes, with encapsulated vitamin A suspended in a moisturizing gel.