AVENTURA, Fla. — Hair care buyers and manufacturers converged to the Sunshine State to discuss the latest opportunities in the HBA aisle at Efficient Collaborative Retail Marketing’s Efficient Program Planning Sessions last week.

One of the biggest pieces of news to emerge at the show is the collaboration of Jason Natural Products, a division of The Hain Celestial Group, with CVS to create an 8-foot set of natural products in 300 select CVS stores in California, according to Laura Setzfand, Jason’s director of marketing. Jason, the maker of organic hair, bath and body items, provided the retailer with names of a number of brands it should feature in the set, including Nature’s Gate, Alba and Avalon, to give organics the presence they need to make a statement with consumers. While many mass retailers stock natural-type products, the CVS/Jason deal marks a first for the industry with a dedicated in-line range to feature a number of industry-known organic brands traditionally sold in Whole Foods and Wild Oats.

Other show standouts included new items in the men’s section of stores, most notably by King of Shaves with their new Fish hair care line. Phil Williams, president of sales and marketing for the company, was pitching buyers on the five-item Fish line targeting 16- to 34-year-olds. The line, which includes a Sportfish Hair & Body Wash, a Fishshape Shaping Cream and a Fishfingers Molding Wax, is currently a $4.5 million brand in the U.K., where it launched last year. A Fish salon is planned for New York City; a location is currently being scouted.

Within ethnic hair care, standouts included Advanced Beauty System’s Chris McClain, a former Wal-Mart buyer, who discussed the company’s Cantu line, a shea butter-based hair care range which also includes a premixed relaxer. TV spots scheduled to break in July and August will help support Cantu, which uses bronze-colored packaging and upscale photo imagery.

The celebrity hairstylist-to-mass trend, while losing steam, is gaining another player. Upper West Side salon owner Ellin Lavar is taking her hair care line, which caters to textured hair, to drugstores this year. Lavar, who recently sold a stake in her company to Woodridge Labs, will launch 12 items, including star item Liquid Glass, which uses pequi oil and maracuja (passion fruit emollient) in the antifrizz, heat-activated styling gel. Lavar also is scheduled to appear in a TV show on the Women’s Entertainment network beginning September 6. The show, called “Hair Trauma,” will air Wednesday nights at 10 p.m., and will focus on the interaction of the stylists in her salon, many of whom are members of her family.

This story first appeared in the June 23, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

General market hair care players also made a presence at ECRM, including Freeman Beauty Lab’s new Sea Kelp hair care line, a five-item range using sea kelp in formulas and also featuring an underwater picture of sea kelp on the bottle’s front.

Vogue International pitched its new natural hair care line, Organix, a sulfate-free line modeled against Philosophy products, to be displayed in lighted endcaps in select Walgreens stores. The displays, said Todd Christopher, founder, president and chief executive of Vogue, glide into a permanent wing, making it flexible for retailers. “They give the brand an organic feeling,” Christopher said.

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