Paul Sephowitz surrounded by Jessica Hanson, Heidi Richardson and Jacqueline Singer.

Coty Beauty, which brought aromatherapy to the mass market in 1997, is progressing with plans to evolve The Healing Garden beyond the bath.

NEW YORK — The Healing Garden is sprouting in new directions.

This story first appeared in the November 21, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Coty Beauty, which brought aromatherapy to the mass market in 1997, is progressing with plans to evolve the brand beyond the bath.

The latest crops from the garden are Spa Theraphy Active Anti-Cellulite Treatment and Spa Theraphy Intensive Body Toning Crème.

At first blush, anticellulite and toning products seem radical departures for The Healing Garden’s specialty bath and fragrance positioning. And, the competitors in the mass market are companies such as RoC, L’Oréal and Neutrogena, with strong skin care heritages. Coty executives, however, believe skin care is a natural step for The Healing Garden.

“We looked at the power of the garden and combined technology with nature for a body care innovation,” said Jacqueline Singer, group marketing director, global fragrances for Coty Beauty, who said The Healing Garden will only launch items that bring a competitive difference to market.

In fact, it is the potent botanicals, she said, that yield the avenue for The Healing Garden to expand into body care. Coty’s goal is to nurture the Healing Garden into a brand with treatment benefits.

The Healing Garden could thrive on the introduction. Adding together the various categories where The Healing Garden competes, its retail sales (excluding Wal-Mart) hover around $40 million, according to data from Information Resources Inc. Although the brand is the number one gift set producer in the mass market, retailers said it could use some fresh ideas.

Regarding the news from Healing Garden, Kathy Steirly, vice president, cosmetics, at Eckerd said, “I think it is exciting. I think there are a lot of new things going on in the bath category that the industry needed.” She added that Eckerd’s proprietary Naturally, Mira bath and spa products have been doing well since their introduction earlier this year.

Although Coty would not comment on sales projections, industry sources estimate the new Healing Garden items could achieve sales of between $12 and $15 million within the first year.

Coty first tweaked The Healing Garden two years ago with new package designs for body mists and a Spa Theraphy collection with natural botanical extracts and antioxidants. The fertilization helped spark a 10 percent rise in sales, according to IRI.

Following that path, the formula for the new Active Anti-Cellulite Treatment contains a plant-derived Sveltonyl Complex plus black currant, caffeine, ivy and sage. It was developed by Coty’s research and development facility in Monaco. “The application of the product as directed encourages the body to flush the fat out of the cells that are located between the muscle and skin, which is what gives skin that orange-peel appearance,” said Dr. Leonard Zastrow, senior vice president of research and development in Monaco.

The unique delivery systems — a crackling mousse — also sets Active Anti-Cellulite Treatment apart from the competition. The mousse creates a cooling sensation and a crackling sound as it is applied. The crackling encourages massage, which is said to help break up cellulite. Coty’s clinical studies reveal that the product diminishes spongy, dimpled skin by 46 percent, increases skin hydration by 41 percent, increases skin elasticity by 30 percent and increases skin firmness by 25 percent. The mousse is packaged in an aluminum container that prevents ingredients from oxidizing, according to Zastrow.

The Intensive Body Toning Crème also offers clinically proven results said to improve skin firmness by 38 percent, elasticity by 36 percent and hydration by 25 percent. The products can be used together or separately. “You see immediate benefits,” said Singer. Cellulite, she added, is a condition most women — even those who are thin — claim to suffer from, suggesting the potential audience is huge. Women of all ages worry about cellulite — a fact Singer hopes will bring new users to The Healing Garden.

“Even clothing can affect cellulite,” added Paul Seplowitz, vice president, product development for Coty Beauty US. He said consumers love the spa experience, but can’t always indulge. Many are also looking for ways to achieve a “facelift” without undergoing surgery. They are driven to retail stores to find products that can make them younger without a spa visit or surgical procedures. The Healing Garden is striving to be a brand that offers women a holistic solution to improving their lives.

The Anti-Cellulite Treatment is priced at $12.95 for 5 oz. The Toning CrËme carries a suggested retail of $10.95 for 8 oz. Products will be on shelves in stores such as Eckerd, Wal-Mart, Kmart and Sears early next year. Print advertising will feature the existing model — this time focusing on her thigh area where cellulite tends to be noticed.

Although Coty hopes retailers might eventually create special areas in the store for anticellulite, the current goal is to secure placement within specialty bath where The Healing Garden is housed. Special displays, end caps and sidekicks will be available for the launch. Anticellulite creams first shook up the mass market in 1994. At that time, most entries were from niche marketers. In the last five years, major manufacturers have added their versions and retailers expect more to follow.

Robert Berman, vice president of May’s Drug, encouraged the launch of new items such as the Anti-Cellulite Treatment. “We need new to drive shoppers into our stores,” he said.

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