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With more than four million pregnancies a year in the U.S. alone, it’s no wonder that mother and baby care are among the strongest personal care categories, (according to Euromonitor International, premium baby care’s value grew from 7% in 2007 to 11% in 2008) and why, within a year of its launch, the Beauté de Maman pregnancy care line is enjoying a very warm reception (www.beautedemaman.com).
The natural positioned product line for pregnant women was developed by Michele Brown—a board-certified, Yale-trained obstetrician with more than 25 years of experience. She leveraged her experience and knowledge in skin care issues that pregnant women face in the development and strict evaluation of Beauté de Maman products. Current products include stretch mark cream, nipple gel, face and body cream, skin cleanser and a dietary herbal supplement.
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All products address the hormonal and physiological changes that women encounter during pregnancy, and utilize ingredients that have been researched for their safety profile in regard to reproduction toxicity. “Providing women with the opportunity to safely and naturally correct pregnancy-related issues is the motivation behind all of our products,” says Brown. Due to the medicinal/treatment properties of the ingredients, the products are categorized as cosmeceuticals.
The positioning and products have produced both press and sales results. The facial scrub and face/body cream were recognized as top 120 “Best Products for Mom and Baby” in the January 2009 issue of Pregnancy magazine, and sales have grown on a monthly basis—encouraging the brand to expand the line.
Holiday Packaging Challenge
By mid-September 2008, Beauté de Maman products were ready for the gift-giving season. Brown and her marketing team had packaging created for three products: a 3.5-oz. stretch mark cream, 1-oz. nipple gel and 6-oz. facial scrub. However, a gift box sleeve for the individual products had not been created and, even more urgently, a holiday photo shoot had not been scheduled. With a tight turn-around pending—along with concerns about cost, flexibility and quality to match the existing packaging—Brown’s original package printer recommended digital printing to produce the small run of 1,000 gift box sleeves to fit over the box and maintain the print quality. “We needed a quick mock-up for use in the photo shoot for the holiday ad, and then all the gift set components had to be assembled into the new sleeve, so the whole turnaround of the entire project was important,” says Brown, who recalls the challenge with the sleeve itself. Because the box was created by a different supplier, there was a discrepancy with the original sleeve dimensions.
There were a number of considerations in choosing a short-run printer—dimension adjustments had to be handled and UPC codes had to be included, for starters. Beauté de Maman chose CL&D Digital for its abilities to meet these needs, in addition to the fact that the printer had its own photographer to shoot the gift set for the holiday advertising—translating to savings related to shipping products and packaging components back and forth.
CL&D Digital’s customer service rep Karen Hennekens was also able to offer shrink-wrapping suggestions, which met cost goals by proving to be more affordable for the start-up company. “Curbing costs was very important,” Hennekens says. “Though CL&D could assemble all the gift box sets and then shrink wrap them, we offered all of the alternatives so [Brown] could choose the most efficient option.” Ultimately, the brand shaved the cost of outside fulfillment and in shipping.
Marketing Forward; Earlier Starts
The Beauté de Maman line creator and her marketing team began gearing up for the 2009 holiday season in June, and had a full-scale marketing plan in place with a two-prong approach: a strong innovation pipeline focusing on moms-to-be/new moms, and distribution growth via partnerships with online and off-line retailers, alternative channels and international markets. New online add-ons included Amazon.com and Drugstore.com, as well as Target and CVS’ online portals and maternity/baby Web sites.
“Internationally, we are expanding into European and Asian markets,” says Laureen Schroeder, vice president of marketing. “The growth plan is fully supported with an integrated marketing plan. On the consumer side, we’re gaining strong ‘word-of-mom’ advertising from our key influencer programming and our social networks forums—vlogging, blogger outreach and twittering efforts, reaching expectant moms and their inner circle of friends and family that they respect for advice.”
The plan also includes more traditional forms of communication such as e-mail marketing, online and off-line PR, event and gift-with-purchase sampling, print advertising and strategic partnerships. “We also have a separate marketing program reaching the medical community and experts through educational programming with family birthing and maternity experts and inclusion in hospital gift stores,” concludes Schroeder.
Tina Chovanec is the owner of Eat Cake Communications LLC and an independent communications professional. With 18 years of professional writing experience, her expertise includes serving as a communications director for a local restaurant group and as an advertising agency copywriter. Previously, she was a contributing writer for publishing groups in the Metro-Milwaukee area. Her company name is inspired by the driving philosophy that you can “have professional communications, and afford it, too.”