NEW YORK — Soap and candle marketer Red Flower is hoping some new strategies will help propagate its budding beauty business.

This story first appeared in the November 11, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The brand recently launched its first bath and body entry, a collection called Flower Skin. Additionally, the four-year-old firm is eyeing expansion into Europe and Asia. With total sales expected to approach $5 million this year, according to industry estimates, Red Flower executives are hoping to double revenues next year.

In the brand’s most significant foray into beauty to date, Red Flower introduced Flower Skin — 24 body lotions and washes positioned within 12 fragranced pairs — at Barneys New York here and at Harvey Nichols and Liberty in the U.K. last month. Red Flower’s total distribution amounts to roughly 175 doors in the U.S., including Bergdorf Goodman, Fred Segal Essentials and Louis Boston, and Flower Skin is expected to reach full domestic distribution by the holidays.

For co-founder Yael Alkalay, translating the olfactory experience of the brand’s core, floral-based soap and candle business into a bath and body line was a logical step. She noted that Flower Skin came from “our own [desire] to expand body as part of the line.”

Victor Silveira, the brand’s other founder, pointed to Red Flower’s emphasis on tactility. After all, each of the company’s $30 candles is packaged with scented petals. “We wanted to take a tactile experience and bring it to a different level,” he said of Flower Skin. Exotic locales were the inspiration for naming the scents, with monikers such as Moroccan Rose, Indian Jasmine, Italian Blood Orange and — the newest addition — Spanish Gardenia.

Internationally, the brand is carried in five Harvey Nichols doors, three Liberty sites and a U.K.-based spa called Calmia. But that’s set to change — albeit, not radically — in the coming months. Melissa Ouellette, who was appointed Red Flower’s sales director in February, is overseeing a plan to expand to France, Germany and Italy, as well as to Japan and Hong Kong by spring. She also emphasized that domestic wholesale expansion plans will remain focused mainly on growing the business in existing doors of distribution. In addition, the company is looking at expanded distribution within the upscale destination spa channel.

Red Flower markets products in four categories: soap, candles, teas and — now — bath and body. The full 53-item assortment is merchandised in Red Flower’s only freestanding store, a shop on Prince Street in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood. The new bath and body line, whose price points are $18 and $22, respectively, is expected to generate retail sales approaching $1 million in its first year, according to sources, and is exceeding expectations in current distribution, Ouellette noted.

Flower Skin items tout general skin benefits and use ingredients that are in some instances typical within the bath and body arena. For example, the pair of items under the African Lily scent uses shea butter and vitamins A, C and E. The Himalayan Larch twosome employs citrus extract.

While it is understood that Red Flower is not rushing to get into categories like color cosmetics or treatment, future developments are likely to occur within the bath and body arena.

— Matthew W. Evans

Caswell Massey Sold
Prestige personal care retailer Caswell Massey has been acquired by BFMA Holding Co. of Cortland, N.Y., according to a Caswell Massey spokeswoman. No details were available at press time.

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