NEW YORK — Charles Worthington London has the seven-year itch.
Since entering the U.S. market in 1999, armed with ambition and good intentions, the hair care brand has found it needs a more aggressive approach to penetrate the mass channel.
Its revised plan, as outlined by the brand’s U.K.-based parent company, PZ Cussons, relies on a steady product pipeline backed by Charles Worthington London’s first national advertising campaign.
By building Charles Worthington London into a more viable business in the U.S., PZ Cussons plans to tap into a much larger market opportunity.
The $1 billion consumer products company, which acquired the brand from U.K. hairstylist Charles Worthington in 2004, is relying on Charles Worthington London to make inroads with U.S. retailers. The ultimate goal is to bring other brands in the company’s portfolio, which includes Imperial Leather and Carex, stateside.
“We have a five-year plan that includes introducing one major brand a year,” explained Stuart Straus, president of PZ Cussons Americas, the new U.S. subsidiary of PZ Cussons based in Chicago.
The first phase of that effort centers on the Charles Worthington London brand, which generates roughly $20 million in U.S. retail sales.
This spring, Charles Worthington London will introduce a hairstyling collection called Smart Fixx. Next year, it will offer Dream Hair to mass retailers, a luxury hair care line that was once sold in Bloomingdale’s and Sephora. The company reintroduced Dream Hair to the U.K. exclusively through Boots the Chemist last fall.
With 2006 plans in place, Charles Worthington London plans to increase its door count from 5,000 in 2004 to 20,000 this spring. Its ramped-up plans will help grow PZ Cussons Americas’ business 30 to 45 percent this year, said Straus.
Smart Fixx ushers Charles Worthington London into the hairstyling category, already a staple of its U.K. business. The nine-item collection, slated to launch in March, seeks to bring “expert styling and personalized styling advice” to the mass market.
Each bottle features styling icons designed to quickly communicate benefits and tips, such as Body & Lasting Hold and Apply to Damp Hair.
Standout products in the line include H20 Styling Strips, a packet of water-activated gel films, and Quick Flick Wax Stick, a pocket-size product designed to texturize and tame hair. Several of the products — including the styling strips, Curl Enhancing Cream, Silky Sleek Straightening Balm and Iridescent Gloss Polish — contain Humidity-Guard, a formula designed to stave off frizz.
The balance of the collection includes Mega Volumising Foam, Texturising Liquid Gel, Reworkable Shaping Gel and High-Shine Finishing Spray. With the exception of the $8.99 H2O Styling Strips, the items are line priced at $6.99 each.
The brand’s U.S. spokesman, Tim Rogers, suggested “fusing multiple products together” when styling hair. Charles Worthington London has funneled similar tips and education from Rogers and Worthington on smartfixx.com, slated to launch Jan. 30.
The company will support Smart Fixx and its existing Results line with a $5 million to $10 million print campaign, scheduled to break in May beauty books.
Charles Worthington London currently accounts for less than 2 percent of PZ Cussons’ total sales, said Straus. However, he added if the line is as successful here as it is in the U.K. — a much smaller country — Charles Worthington London could one day grow to a $100 million brand.