An Altruistic Spin On Home Scents
NEW YORK — With the fall launch of a home fragrance brand called Altru, Manuela Testolini Nelson, who is married to pop superstar Prince, will take her first steps into the beauty arena.

“I wanted to bring back an appreciation for old world artisanal goods but present them in way that’s modern,” said Testolini Nelson, who is founder and chief executive officer of Gamillah Inc., a two-year-old firm that’s aligned with numerous social causes and based in Minneapolis, where she resides with her husband. Gamillah also markets Art of Life, a collection of media production projects, including DVDs.

Testolini Nelson, who divides her time between Minneapolis and her native Toronto, wanted to create a fragrance collection inspired by her travels and exposure to cultures around the world. The 16-item Altru collection, whose name is intended to mean “unselfishly giving of one’s self to others,” contains six soy blended candles, four interior fragrance oils, four sets of incense sticks, a copper incense burner and an incense holder inspired by an Egyptian scroll case.

More than half of the proceeds from Altru will go to a charity Testolini Nelson founded last year called the In A Perfect World Foundation. The non-profit organization’s mission is to inspire and empower children to become compassionate, socially conscious and responsible leaders.

“I wanted to create something that I personally use and love,” said Testolini Nelson. “Since I’m always traveling, I like to make hotel rooms feel like home, and two things I always bring along with me are tea and candles. At home, something as simple as having wonderful bath products, a candle and some music is a safe haven and refuge for me.”

The Altru collection ranges in price from $15 for the Incense Star Burner to $65 for the Interior Fragrance Oil. It will be introduced in October exclusively at Nordstrom and at Manhattan’s ABC Carpet & Home, or about 20 doors.

In January, Gamillah plans to expand distribution of Altru to other specialty stores. Industry sources estimate Altru could generate between $1 million and $2 million in first-year retail sales.

According to Testolini Nelson, Altru products are named for core values one might find in a “perfect world,” such as Harmony, Integrity, Artistry, Remembrance, Wellness and Appreciation. Each of the six product groupings is based on particular olfactory accords. For instance, Harmony is scented with tanenashi persimmon; Integrity with Persian lilac and bamboo; Artistry with masala chai; Remembrance with grapefruit and Italian rosemary; Wellness with white clove and wild ginger, and Appreciation with tiare and white freesia.

This story first appeared in the July 19, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The patterns used on Altru’s packaging are influenced by textiles Testolini Nelson discovered at markets in India, Egypt and Morocco. The soy wax candles are packaged in hammered copper, while the fragrance oils are packaged in hand-blown glass bottles inspired by Merano glass. A highlight of the line is the Incense Scroll Holder, for $25. It was inspired by an item dating from 1382 that she found in a centuries-old Cairo marketplace. “The holder was used for special documents, like marriage certificates,” said Testolini Nelson. “I thought to myself, ‘What a wonderful way for me to travel with my incense.'”

Over the next two years, Testolini Nelson has plans to launch a bath and body collection — as well as stationery, journals and an assortment of teas — under Altru.
Michelle Edgar

Nancy Feetham Promoted at Estée Lauder
NEW YORK — Nancy Feetham, an 11-year veteran of the Estée Lauder brand, has been appointed to the new post of vice president and national sales manager for Prescriptives and Tom Ford Beauty, which are both part of the Estée Lauder Cos. Feetham, who was most recently regional vice president, South Central, in Texas, first joined Lauder as regional marketing director in Texas and subsequently became vice president for Estée Lauder in Canada and then regional vice president, West, in Los Angeles.

“Nancy is superbly positioned to lead the Prescriptives and Tom Ford sales efforts with her extensive cosmetics experience from a retail and sales perspective,” said Andrea Robinson, president of Prescriptives worldwide and Tom Ford Beauty. “She is an experienced sales executive who will move Prescriptives to its next phase and launch the Tom Ford Beauty brand successfully in the retail arena.”

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