TOP NOTES

SHISEIDO, ZIRH DEAL: Shiseido announced plans this week to buy 58.3 percent of Zirh International, a U.S. men’s skin care manufacturer. The purchase price was not disclosed. Zirh’s sales reportedly topped $1.5 million in 1999. This deal could double those numbers by yearend, sources said.
Stockkeeping units — currently at 11 products — are expected to double by mid-2001. They are available in 144 department and specialty store doors globally.
Shiseido plans to sharply increase Zirh’s international distribution by 2002, adding 40 or more countries to the distribution list.
Two Shiseido executives will join the company’s management team: Hiroshi Maruyama, vice president of Shiseido’s Americas business, will be chairman of Zirh, and Isao Isejima, chairman and chief executive officer of Shiseido International, will be Zirh’s director.

DREAM CREAM: Origins has a new hit on its hands. Have a Nice Day, the $28.50, SPF 15 moisturizer that was launched in April, has exceeded sales expectations by more than 100 percent. Nice day, indeed. As a result, noted industry sources, Origins has almost doubled its retail sales projections for the product — plus the lotion version coming in July — to $10 million.

TOOL TIME: Makeup artist Paula Dorf, whose cosmetics line was recently picked up by Henri Bendel in New York, is quite serious about the tools of her trade. So serious that she applied for — and received — a patent for her cheek cream brush. The $35 item features bristles angled to fit the apple of your cheek and made from a strong nylon called Taklon, explained Dorf.
The patent number, for those keeping track, is 6,039,051.
Fellow makeup artist Ramy Gafni doesn’t have any patents to boast about, but he has put together a handy miniature brush kit called Ramy Ready. Packed in a frosted plastic container the size and shape of an eyeglass case, it includes five brushes plus room for lipstick and mascara. Ramy Ready will retail for $75.

FLOWER POWER: If there were awards for clever at-counter promotions, Parfums Givenchy would definitely snag the top prize for its Mother’s Day purchase-with-purchase — a set of colorful floral dessert plates. Customers can buy the set for $15 with any purchase of Amarige, Organza, Extravagance, Ysatis or Indecence.
According to Camille McDonald, president and ceo of Parfums Givenchy, the novel idea was the result of a staff brainstorming session. More than 30,000 sets of the plates were produced and McDonald expects to sell all of them.
So are they dishwasher safe? “Are you kidding?” asked McDonald. “Of course they are. No one here washes their own dishes.”

SOMETHING FISHY: Spacadet.com, the Web site that New York aesthetician Jillian Ratensperger launched from her living room, has seen its sales double, thanks to a little hair-growth pill called Viviscal. Ratensperger started selling the product in February and thought her inventory of two dozen boxes would last for several months. Instead, she sold her entire supply in one hour. Although Viviscal is not cheap — it retails for $78 for a box of 60 on Spacadet — it is the site’s best-selling stockkeeping unit.
The reason? Catherine Hickland, the actress who plays the manipulative, scheming Lindsay on “One Life to Live,” recently plugged Viviscal and Spacadet.com in Product Queen, her monthly column that appears in Soap Opera Digest.

WAX WORKS: Is the candle trend waxing or waning? According to Tocca, it’s on fire. The company, which has expanded beyond clothing into beauty, home, accessories and lingerie, launched its candle collection last November and found the demand was even greater than executives had expected. Today, the candles represent 70 percent of Tocca’s beauty sales.
The newest addition, a Casablanca lily-scented candle named Grace for Grace Kelly, hits stores this month. In August, Tocca will launch six candles inspired by different countries.