LOS ANGELES — When a fragrance becomes an international obsession, its creators have to think out of the box. That is literally what happened for Jennifer and Sara Jaqua, two sisters who inaugurated the beloved Jaqua Beauty bath and body brand with a Spa Kit in a paint can in 1997. Since it launched, the line has grown into a profitable company. They grossed $1 million their first year out and have doubled profits for the last three years.
An unforeseen but welcome byproduct has been the legions of women addicted to Buttercream Frosting, their bestseller. Talk show host and model Tyra Banks has been quoted as saying it “smells so good I have to force myself not to eat it.”
In response to demands and requests from fans whom the Jaquas have dubbed the “buttercream brigade,” they have expanded the collection with the release of the The Pink Buttercream Boudoir Collection. The decadent, sensual group features ultra-feminine products — a marabou-feather shimmer puff, a nourishing French milled soap and a luxurious soy candle that sells for $18.50.
“We were channeling Marie Antoinette for this feminine collection,” said co-owner Jennifer Jaqua. “Ultimately, it’s a test to see what happens when we do expand out of the more traditional bath and body category.”
The individual products come packaged in pretty pink-and-white-striped boxes or wrapped in whimsical polkadotted paper, perfect for display — though they smell so delicious, that probably won’t happen. Jennifer’s background as a photographer and graphic designer and Sara’s experience as a writer, painter and spa industry veteran have contributed to the line’s success.
“It has always been extremely important to us to visually have fun with the colors, illustration and texture — even things like printing on the wrong side of the box so it feels like paper,” Jennifer explained.
When the sisters started the line in their kitchens nine years ago, an ample dose of chutzpah got them into respected department stores such as Nordstrom and popular beauty chains such as Bath & Body Works. “We showed up at the Nordstrom buying office with no appointment and the paint can in hand, which just isn’t done,” said Jennifer. “They placed an order with us that day.” That paint can initially did their marketing for them and became many a beauty editor’s pick. The Jaquas did their own publicity, grew the business carefully and learned the industry along the way. Throughout, they have kept the consumer their highest priority.
“Our customer base has made us and remained loyal because the stuff really looks good, smells good and works,” said Jennifer. “Plus, we absolutely keep a low price point to continue to encourage women to pamper themselves. We also have a solid celebrity customer who buys the products at retail,” she added. Jaqua Beauty’s list of famous devotees is as varied as the fragrance collections. Christina Aguilera loves Pink Champagne. Anne Hathaway consistently orders the Rose Bergamot. Teri Hatcher sent a handwritten note praising Peach Parfait and was spotted purchasing the product for her daughter at Sephora. Of course, the sisters’ handiwork has been featured on “Oprah” three times. Currently, the line is being tested for signature treatments, such as “Peaches and Buttercream” manis and pedis, in select salons nationwide. At a celebrity event on July 15 at Argyle Salon & Spa in Hollywood, guests were treated to hydrating hand and foot massages using Jaqua products, which are formulated with skin-nurturing ingredients such as shea butter and palm oil. The Pink Buttercream Boudoir Collection is the first step in the Jaquas’ plan to become a full-fledged lifestyle brand that includes luxury loungewear.
“In 2007 we will really be able to tell a bigger story about the world of Jaqua,” said Jennifer.