NEW YORK — A new beauty marketer called Lavanila Labora­tories is introducing three vanilla-inspired fragrances with a twist — they’re designed not just to have a pleasing aroma but to offer skin care benefits.

“Up to this point, it’s been about smelling good. We’re trying to enhance the fragrance experience,” said Laura DiGirolamo, co-founder of Lavanila along with Danielle Raynor. “If you’re putting something on your skin, it might as well be good for you, especially since 60 percent of what we put on our skin is absorbed into our bloodstream.”

The founders of the firm noted that consumer research yielded complaints that some fragrances were irritating and drying their skin. Raynor wanted to create a fragrance composed of natural ingredients that was multifunctional, offering benefits beyond traditional fragrances. The company chose vanilla for its popular appeal and medicinal benefits and added organic sugar cane alcohol, which has its own distinct scent and is supposed to enhance the vanilla.

Created by Gi­vaudan, the three fragrances — Pure Vanilla, Vanilla Grapefruit and Vanilla Blossom — contain a proprietary blend, intended to provide the skin a daily dose of antioxidants, 30 essential vitamins and minerals and 19 amino acids with each spray. While base notes of each fragrance include Madagascar vanilla, top and middle notes vary depending on the olfactory composition. Lavanila doesn’t contain ingredients found in some fragrances such as petrochemicals, mineral oils, parabens, propylene glycol and other synthetic compounds, according to DiGirolamo and Raynor.

“We felt like we needed an anchor or inspiration behind the line to unite the concept and felt like vanilla was the perfect choice because it’s an identifiable and globally popular scent. It’s associated with warmth and softness, but also has medical backing and clinical studies showing it reduces stress and anxiety,” said Raynor.

The formulas contain ingredients that offer treatment benefits like olive leaf extract, an antioxidant that keeps skin moisturized, and Canadian willow herb extract, known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-irritant properties. “It’s not like we’re claiming to offer antiaging benefits. We’re just taking positive steps to improve people’s daily beauty routines,” said Raynor.

Retailing for $56 per 1.7-oz. spray bottle, the line will be launched at Sephora on an exclusive basis in February.

This story first appeared in the January 4, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The company has plans to expand its namesake brand in the fall with the launch of a full bath and body range, which will include body butters, lip butters and candles. The company is also looking to expand its distribution in more boutiques and specialty department stores.

Industry sources estimate the new collection, along with line extensions, might generate between $2 million and $3 million in retail sales.
— Michelle Edgar

Tess Appoints Kodak Veteran President, G.M.
NEW YORK — Former Eastman Kodak Co. executive Karen Smith-Pilkington has been named president and general manager of Tess Skincare Inc., aka Teen Everyday Skincare System.

The teen beauty firm was founded in September 2005 by California native Susan Shand and her daughter Ryan, 15. In October, Jean Hoehn Zimmerman, a former Chanel Inc. beauty executive, joined Tess’ board.

Smith-Pilkington, a 25-year veteran of Kodak, worked for the photography company as corporate senior vice president and chairman and president of the Greater Asia Region, where she oversaw the firm’s strategy and business operations in Asia. She has also been a manager for Kodak’s Health Group.

“As we look to expand our market reach and grow our business in 2007, we welcome Karen’s incredible expertise and demonstrated leadership skills,” Shand, who is chief executive officer and a former Teen Magazine marketing editor, said in a statement. “[This year], we intend to continue building the Tess brand and anticipate a significant increase in product sales.”

Tess also noted it secured $1.65 million in series B financing during the fourth quarter. This follows previous financing in which the nascent firm had raised in excess of $2.1 million. Tess said it is attempting to key in on teen girls’ “healthy habits and increased self-esteem.” The skin care brand features cleansers, toners, night cream, antiacne items and lip gloss priced from $14 to $48, an assortment that’s carried at selected Sephora locations.

load comments
blog comments powered by Disqus