SUI FASHIONS A DREAM SCENT

Byline: Pete Born

NEW YORK — Anna Sui’s beauty products are getting as funky as her image.
At least that’s the hope of Intercosmetics, her fragrance licensee, as it prepares for the fall launch of the designer’s second fragrance, Sui Dreams.
The fragrance bottle, designed with the help of Pierre Schmidt Studio and manufactured by Pochet, is in the shape of a handbag and is being aimed at a slightly younger audience than the designer’s first fragrance, which is called simply, Anna Sui.
The original, Considered her signature scent, was launched in March 1999 and was aimed at an audience age 18 to 44. The packaging of the first fragrance had a retro, rococo look and the scent was a traditional oriental.
“This one is more fun and it is targeted at a younger customer,” said Martha Brady, president and chief executive officer of Intercosmetics, U.S. branch of Cosmopolitan Cosmetics, the beauty subsidiary of German hair care giant Wella.
Brady said the new fragrance, a floral oriental developed by perfumer Phillippe Romano of Robertet, had a positioning and a customer target more in tune with Sui’s color cosmetics customers, particularly in Asia. It is aimed at the 18-to-30-year-old group.
The introduction of the original fragrance was been accompanied by the designer’s color line for a double-barrel launch. The fragrance’s positioning had been skewed slightly older because it was a designer product with elaborate packaging and the scent was decidedly feminine. The distribution included Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom.
By yearend, distribution of the fragrance stood at 250 doors, while the color line topped out at 85, due to the higher cost of doing business. The cosmetics line’s distribution is being edged up to a maximum of 100 doors this year.
The Sui Dreams scent has a fruity sparkling top note that includes bergamot, tangerine and orange bitter, calculated to provide what the company calls “brilliant freshness.” The heart consists of an exotic floral with a mix of Chinese peony, freesia and white flowers. The base features anise seeds, vanilla, sandalwood and cedarwood.
Not only is the new fragrance aimed a bit younger in positioning, but stores are being added to the distribution that have a slightly younger orientation. They included select doors of Dillard’s, Macy’s East and West, Sephora, the Marshall Field’s division of Dayton Hudson and Marshall Field’s. Brady is working with Macy’s in its new teen departments.
Intercosmetics has been making adjustments in the distribution and merchandising of both the color and fragrance businesses, making nips and tucks for the betterment of each category.
For instance, the company will use Neiman Marcus Direct, the Neiman Marcus marketing arm, a powerful sales tool that is available in the market. It has a broader audience and a longer reach than the Neiman Marcus stores.
And Brady confirmed market reports that the Sui color line had been pulled out of Saks Fifth Avenue so the company could concentrate on its promising fragrance business, which she said was doing well there.
The Sui Dreams line consists of five stockkeeping units, with an opening price of $38 for a 1-oz. eau de toilette spray. The benchmark sku is a 1.7-oz. size for $48. The most expensive item is a 2.5-oz. spray for $65.
The company does not break out sales goals or promotional budgets, but industry sources estimated the target for Sui Dreams would be $5 million wholesale the first year. That is slightly more aggressive than the $3 million reportedly done by the first fragrance, which was hindered by a late start in March and an underdeveloped distribution, which began with fewer than 100 doors. The 250-door count was not reached until the end of the year, and the fragrance was launched without scented strips.
The color line did more than $3.5 million at wholesale, according to industry sources.
Those sources also estimated the new fragrance would be backed by $3 million to $4 million in advertising and promotional support.
The tag line on the print advertising campaign will be “Live Your Dreams,” according to Brady, who noted that the company was talking to actress Patricia Arquette about becoming the worldwide spokesperson for Anna Sui. Print ads will appear in national fashion magazines, Brady said, adding that she was also looking into teen publications.
The licensing arrangements with Sui are a bit unusual. Wella holds the worldwide license for fragrance, but acts as global distributor for color. The cosmetics license is held by a Japanese company, Albion, under an umbrella agreement with Isetan, which is the master Sui licensee inside Japan. Outside Japan, Wella markets Albion’s Sui color line.
The fragrance will be launched in September, but the company plans to get a head start via a new Sui Web site, which is expected to go live on June 1. The company plans on presampling the fragrance to people who register for a bottle on the Web site. Brady said 100,000 deluxe miniature samples had been produced, as well as copious amounts of vial-on-cards.
This time, there will be no lack of scented strips. Brady estimated that 8 million to 10 million strips would be used in magazine ads and another 10 million would be used in an aggressive direct mail campaign with the stores.