NEW YORK — H2O Plus is testing new waters.
The water-based skin care brand will debut H2O Plus Color Cosmetics, its first 92-stockkeeping-unit color cosmetics collection. The line is being tested in the company’s two locations here as well as on its Web site, but will officially launch in July when it begins to roll out globally.
“We’re a different company now than we were 15 years ago,” noted Cindy Melk, chief executive and founder of the Chicago-based company. “Our primary sales are in skin care, which makes up 50 percent of our total sales, and so cosmetics is a logical extension.” She explained that her decision to launch color cosmetics is based on a few factors. It was the number one request from customers, as determined by a global survey, and she “wanted to maximize the talents of our current product development team. The time is right.”
True to the brand’s heritage, color cosmetics also boasts benefits for the skin. The collection contains Phytlene 773 Complex — a blend of five different marine algae said to illuminate and moisturize as well as deliver antiaging and antioxidant benefits to the skin.
Jason Lown, makeup artist and creator of the line, noted that “in putting this collection together it needed to be unique to what H2O Plus is and to tie it back to how we formulate for our skin care, which is by looking to the sea.” He added that the line took about two years to create.
The lineup contains products for the face such as nine shades of Aquaperfect Foundation and five shades of Loose Powder, $22 each; three shades of Concealer, $14, and Pressed Powder for $20. There are also six shades of Cheek Color, priced at $16.50. For the lips are Lip Matte in four shades and 20 shades of Lip Color at $14 each; seven shades of Lip Liner and six shades of Slip Gloss at $12 each. The eye range consists of 18 Eye Color Singles, $14, or four Eye Color Duos for $18 each. Eye Liner costs $12 and is available in four shades and there are two shades of Silk Mascara priced at $15. There is also the H2O Plus Complexion Perfector, an oil-free primer formulated to fill lines and improve skin texture and tone, which retails for $24.
The primary packaging is clear to display the product shade and the outer packaging consists of a brushed silver carton with blue and white accents.
Industry sources estimate that the line could generate as much as $9 million globally in its first year at retail; the entire business is expected to deliver $90 million in global sales for 2004.
The line will launch simultaneously at all the brand’s points of distribution which include 25 company-owned freestanding stores in the U.S. as well as 64 freestanding units that are owned and operated by foreign distributors. In addition, the line will be available in 400 department store doors, including Nordstrom, and in select doors of Marshall Field’s in the U.S.
“Our business is booming and it’s really exciting,” said Melk. She noted that as of April, revenue for the year was up 27 percent over 2003, North America retail same-store sales increased 12 percent, the Internet business is up 23 percent and international business is strong. The increase in revenue is being primarily driven by skin care, which rose by 28 percent. “We’re planning to more than double our global branded sales in the next three years and were primarily focused on Southeast Asia but are now extending into South America and Europe.” The company is planning to expand into five additional countries in 2004 as well as to expand into major urban markets in the U.S.
— Kristin Finn