Tween Spirit: A Scent For the American Girl
By Molly Prior
NEW YORK — Just like her predecessor, Barbie, the American Girl will soon get a signature scent. The fragrance, called Truly Me, will launch in Bath & Body Works stores and at the American Girl Place in Chicago and New York next month.
While developed as a "first fragrance" for girls eight to 12 years old, the scent has all the trappings of a prestige scent, including ancillary items ranging from a purse spray to a sparkling powder puff.
The scent's pink-colored juice is housed in a star-shaped flacon, and will be available in two sizes: 1.7 oz. priced at $19.50, and a mini 0.25-oz. bottle for $5. The eau de toilette spray, developed by International Flavors & Fragrances, is described as a "vibrant blend of gardenia, sparkling pear and sweet jasmine."
Truly Me will mark the latest addition to the American Girl RealBeauty Inside and Out collection, a personal care line created in collaboration with BBW, which launched in BBW stores and the American Girl Place Aug. 1.
American Girl, a $380 million corporation owned by Mattel, is best known for its dolls and library of books. It is now seeking ways to take the brand into more lifestyle categories while "still making a meaningful difference in girls' lives," explained Beth Scott, licensing director for American Girl. Personal care, she added, seemed like a natural place to start.
As part of BBW's evolution into a modern apothecary, the retailer had recently zeroed in on the tween market as a frontier for growth. "[RealBeauty] is part of our effort to offer a great assortment of the world's best iconic beauty brands," said Camille McDonald, BBW's executive vice president, brand development. "BBW wants to be involved in the lifestyle of women of all ages."
The idea for the collection germinated from a trio of American Girl beauty books, including "Real Beauty: 101 Ways to Feel Good About You." Each product label includes a definition of real beauty, such as "Real beauty is believing in yourself" and "Real beauty is making up your own mind."
The 20-stockkeeping-unit collection — developed with the feedback of 1,000 girls and their mothers — spans across the hair, bath and body and lip categories and includes flavors such as Strawberries & Cream, Fresh Flowers and Coconut Milk.
BBW plans to expand the assortment in 2006 with a spa collection and a facial care line. "By the end of 2006, we expect to have 90 items, including gift sets and accessories, said McDonald.
In addition to courting tweens, BBW intends for RealBeauty to encourage impulse shopping for parents and grandparents. "Our mission is to make BBW irresistible to the grown-ups as well," said McDonald.
McDonald would not comment on sales, but industry sources estimate the RealBeauty collection could reap $75 million to $120 million in first-year sales.
Thus far, BBW has relied on American Girl channels, such as its Web site and magazine, for its marketing efforts. The retailer announced the RealBeauty collection to readers in the July issue, and has stitched Truly Me scent strips into the September issue. The scent will bow Oct. 17, but BBW is encouraging customers to reserve their bottle ahead of time. Each girl that preorders Truly Me will be given a charm bracelet, reminding them to pick up the scent on its official launch date.
McDonald said BBW will add new items to the assortment each month and will pepper the display with "surprises within surprises."
She noted, "If you want to develop a relationship with a customer, you have to insert yourself into her lifestyle, whether she is eight or 80.