Limited Brands, Cosmetic Packaging & Design’s 2002 Company of the Year: Excellence in Packaging, is the parent corporation of a family of retail stores familiar to every American who ever walked a shopping mall.

Leslie Wexner is the founder and chief executive officer of Limited Brands.

Founder and chief executive, Leslie Wexner, started to build the Limited dynasty in 1963 with the opening of the first Limited store at the Kingsdale Mall in Columbus, OH. Since then, through acquisitions and internal growth, the Limited Brands family has grown to include Victoria’s Secret, Victoria’s Secret Beauty, Bath & Body Works and The White Barn Candle Co., as well as The Limited, Express, Henri Bendel, and Structure (being rebranded as Express Men’s). And in 2000, Limited Brands entered a partnership through its Intimate Beauty Corp. with Shiseido Co. Ltd. to create Aura Science, a new specialty store for color cosmetics and skin care products, which debuted this year with its first nine stores.

Limited Brands’ Victoria Secret Beauty capitalizes on the power of its lingerie brand when it launches fragrances such as Very Sexy for Her.

While many of Limited Brands’ stores focus on apparel, its cumulative sales from beauty products of approximately $2.18 billion was enough to place it tenth in Happi magazine’s 2002 Top 50 ranking of U.S. household and personal product companies. For although Limited Brands does not own a single manufacturing plant, it brings a truly extraordinary family of fragrances, color cosmetics and personal care lines to market, all packaged carefully to appeal to its millions of customers.

It is Limited Brands’ ability to control the distribution and merchandising of its beauty lines that has made it the industry powerhouse it has become. Its executives not only determine which products to offer and what packaging will serve best, but also how to attract consumers to the various stores and present the lines to the best advantage.

All in the Family
All told, Limited Brands operates 4,087 specialty stores including Victoria’s Secret, Victoria’s Secret Beauty, Bath & Body Works, Express, Express Men’s (Structure), Limited Stores, White Barn Candle Co. and Henri Bendel.

Beauty products first appeared on Victoria’s Secret counters in 1989.

Victoria’s Secret (VS) is the largest brand, with sales in excess of $2.4 billion through its lingerie and beauty stores. Victoria’s Secret products are also available through Victoria’s Secret Direct, its catalog business, and online at www.VictoriasSecret.com., which generated sales of approximately $870 million in 2001.

While beauty products are not sold through every Limited Brands’ store, fine fragrance, color cosmetics and personal care represent a significant category for Victoria’s Secret, Victoria’s Secret Beauty, Bath & Body Works and Aura Science, while environmental fragrance is the basis for The White Barn Candle Company.

Dream Angels is one of 24 Victoria’s Secret Beauty fragrances, which contribute significantly to the company’s bottom line.

A Perfect Combination
In 1989, fragrance and beauty products first appeared on Victoria’s Secret counters and it’s been a wildly successful love affair ever since. By 1998, the beauty business had become so important that Intimate Beauty Corp. was established as a subsidiary company to serve as an umbrella organization for a portfolio of beauty brands—acquired, licensed or developed. Victoria’s Secret Beauty was the first, Aura Science was the second and others, to be either acquired or created, are planned for the future.


Robin Burns, an executive with over 20 years experience in the beauty business, joined Limited Brands as president and chief executive officer of Intimate Beauty Corp. in July 1998.

Burns started her career at Bloomingdale’s in New York after graduating college in 1974. During her nine-year stay at Bloomies, she rose from executive trainee to buyer and, ultimately, to head the cosmetics division of Bloomingdale’s stores. In 1983, Burns became president of Calvin Klein Cosmetics Company, where she guided the company through seven years of exceptional growth. She joined Estée Lauder Inc. in 1990 as president and chief executive officer for North America. She had added the responsibility of Donna Karan Cosmetics to her position by the time she left to assume her current role at Limited Brands.

2002: A Year for Regrouping at Limited Brands
The past year has been a challenging one for Limited Brands. The company has divested some of its store brands and reorganized in order to become “a family of the world’s best fashion brands,” according to Leslie Wexner, founder and chief executive.

In November 2002, Limited Brands completed the sale of Lerner New York/New York & Company to an investor group lead by Richard P. Crystal and Bear Stearns Merchant Banking. Crystal will continue in his position as president and chief executive officer of Lerner New York/New York & Company. Under the terms of the agreement, Limited Brands received $78.5 million in cash, a $75 million subordinated note and warrants for approximately 15% of the common equity of the new company. In 2001, Lerner’s 522 stores reported $940 million in sales.

In other financial news, Limited Brands reported flat comparable stores sales for the five weeks ended Jan.4, 2003, compared to the five weeks ended Jan. 5, 2002. Net sales were $1.651 billion, an increase of 4% compared to sales of $1.590 billion last year. Reported net sales no longer include results from Lerner New York.

On Jan. 13, Beth Pritchard, president and chief executive officer of Bath & Body Works, retired from BBW.

“Bath & Body Works has been a huge part of my life for nearly 12 years now, and I feel really good about what we have accomplished in that time,” said Pritchard. “But the business is at a point in its evolution where I am comfortable stepping aside to pursue some of my other interests...”

Ken Stevens, who had been serving as executive vice president and chief operating officer of BBW, has assumed responsibility for the business as president.

Prior to joining Bath & Body Works, Stevens served as president and chief operating officer of inChord Communications, an integrated advertising and marketing firm, and chairman and chief executive officer of the Bank One Retail Group, where he was responsible for all retail banking operations and strategy.

Prior to that, he was executive vice president of marketing and then president and chief operating officer of Taco Bell; senior vice president and treasurer of Pepsico; a partner at McKinsey & Co., and also served in management roles at General Mills and Bullocks.

Limited Brands participated in the SG Cowen Annual Consumer Conference on Jan. 14 in New York City. Tom Katzenmeyer, vice president of communications and investor relations, gave a brief overview of the Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works holiday 2002 results. He said that, while overall the Limited Brands businesses had “disappointing” holiday results, there were exceptions. “Victoria’s Secet had a strong holiday season,” said Katzenmeyer. VS had +5% comp store sales in November and +5% comp store sales in December. He added that Victoria’s Secret Beauty, catalog and internet sales had been strong during the holiday season.

Robin Burns, president and CEO of Intimate Brands, has high expectations for the company’s beauty business.

Burns Aims High
Burns has high expectations for Intimate Beauty. At an annual update meeting for the investment community held in Columbus, OH on Oct. 16, 2002, she noted that while the beauty market in the U.S. is mature, it is also huge, having generated total sales of $30 billion in 2001. Saying that at present, Victoria’s Secret Beauty has a 2% share of that market with sales of $565 million in 2001, Burns stated that the company’s goal is to double that performance and become a $1 billion brand by 2006.

Very Sexy for Her is the latest VS fragrance launch.

Supporting her objective, Burns noted that beauty sales in the specialty retail sector have grown at a compounded annual rate of 12% over the last four years. She expects that continued strength to enable Victoria’s Secret Beauty to maintain momentum and increase market share as well as contribute to the development of Aura Science.

Victoria’s Secret Beauty Up Seven Percent in ’01
Victoria’s Secret Beauty (VSB) doesn’t limit its audience to a particular age or station. “Victoria’s Secret Beauty is for the woman who wants to feel sexy, sophisticated and ultra feminine,” stressed Sherry Baker, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for VSB. “On a broad scale, we appeal to a wide range of women with our core constituency being women in their mid-twenties to mid-thirties. We prefer, however, to target how a woman feels, rather than her age, ethnicity, or any other specific demographic.”

Such broad appeal has enabled Victoria’s Secret Beauty to increase sales at a time when many retail stores are struggling. VSB, which opened its first store in 1996, now has 503 freestanding locations and sells its beauty line through another 500 Victoria’s Secret departments, grew by seven percent in 2001, according to Burns, who said, “We are projecting double digit sales and profit increases,” for 2002.

Evolution of The Limited and Its Beauty Business

1963

Limited opens its first store in Kingsdale Mall in Columbus, OH.
1980 First Limited Express opens in Chicago.
1982 Express becomes the first separate division of Limited Brands.
Victoria’s Secret is acquired by Limited Brands.
1985 One Henri Bendel store is acquired.
798 Lerner stores are acquired.
1987 Express Men’s brand is sold in 16 Express stores.
In 1989, it is renamed Structure.
1988 25 Abercrombie & Fitch stores and one catalog are acquired.
1989 Fragrance and beauty products are introduced into the Victoria’s Secret brand.
1990 First Structure store is opened. In 1992 it becomes a separate division.
Bath & Body Works opens its first store in Boston.
1998 Intimate Beauty Corp. is created to develop and build a portfolio of distinct beauty businesses.
50 Bath & Body Works Home stores are converted to White Barn Candle Co. stores to begin a home fragrance brand test.
Limited Brands completes spin-off of Abercrombie & Fitch.
Victoria’s Secret launches e-commerce site victoriassecret.com, profitable since day one.
1999 The White Barn Candle Co. is launched by raising an old-fashioned barn in NYC’s Bryant Park.
2000 Intimate Beauty Corp. and Shiseido Co. Ltd. form a joint venture to develop, market and sell new lines of prestige beauty products in free-standing stores.
2002 The Limited Inc. changes name to Limited Brands to further emphasize the company’s commitment to building a family of the world’s best fashion brands.
Recombination of Intimate Brands and The Limited, Inc. through a tender offer and subsequent short-form merger, making Intimate Brands a wholly-owned sub-
sidiary of The Limited.
Launch of Aura Science, a prestige beauty brand unveiled by The Limited and Shiseido Co. Ltd.

 

The Secrets Fragrance Collection consists of five scents, each
identified by a double digit number.

How It’s Done
Establishing and maintaining a clear brand identity is the first step. “Our brand identity is sexy, sophisticated and ultra-feminine; it’s our DNA,” Baker said. “Regardless of the product, this is the consistent message that rings true. Sexy, sophisticated and ultra-feminine: it’s played out in all categories and sub-brands. Our products, whether a fragrance, a lipstick, or a cosmetic bag, seamlessly resonate with these overall, declared characteristics of our brand. This consistency of positioning has proved to be successful as it gives clarity to the brand.”

Building from brand identity, Burns explained that the Victoria’s Secret Beauty success was achieved by “focusing on the few that deliver the many.” Specifically, she noted that the company continues to expand its portfolio of fragrances, currently totally 24, across a wide range of price-points and scent types.

Baker explained how the various VSB fragrances appeal to different aspects of the Victoria’s Secret woman. “…PINK is sexy and playful; dream angels is sexy and romantic; Very Sexy For Her is sexy and provocative,” Baker said, adding, “Each fragrance is undeniably sexy, yet sexy in a unique way. Different sub-brands of our fragrance collections appeal to a woman at different times of her life, her year, or even her day. It’s the fun of being a woman; she’s able to enjoy all aspects of being sexy in many different ways.”

Sensual Appeal Backed by Solid Business Sense
VS brings an extraordinary combination of fashion and business expertise to the market.
In the past three years, Victoria’s Secret fragrances have received four FiFi awards, The Fragrance Foundation honors that recognize excellence in fragrance products. At the same time, Burns said, the company has improved operational efficiencies by reducing expenses as a percent of sales and improving its inventory management capabilities.

Product Launches Carefully Planned
In September 2002, the company launched Secrets, its first “bridge” or mid-priced fragrance collection. Secrets includes five fragrances, each identified by a specific number with a corresponding meaning: 33—sensuality; 55—flirtation; 66—romance; 77—magnetism and 88—temptation. Each scent has corresponding body wash and body lotion. “Whenever possible, we prefer to launch with ancillaries,” said Baker. “Everyday usage of ancillaries enhances the total fragrance experience for our clients, which further strengthens the client’s loyalty to our brand.” According to the company, Secrets has been well received and has already delivered incrementally to store sales.

The Secrets Fragrance Collection is also available on the Victoria’s Secret website with the Secrets Fragrance Collection sampler, which appears as a “pop-up” window on the website, according to Baker, who added, “For Victoria’s Secret Beauty, the website is a vehicle to promote trial and awareness of beauty. Notably, when initially featured, the Secrets Fragrance Sampler was one of the web’s top five selling items for the entire period of its debut.”

The complete Secrets Fragrance Collection will be available through Victoria’s Secret Direct (website and catalog) in fall 2003.

Baker pointed out that while each of the five Secret scents is identified by a double-digit number, “no fragrance notes are divulged, reinforcing the ‘secretive’ positioning, thus adding to the mystery and allure of the collection.”

According to the company, the lower price of Secrets is encouraging consumers to purchase more units of its body wash and body lotion, which are used at a faster rate than cologne. It is hoped that the need to replace such products will drive store traffic and encourage repeat purchases.

Fine Fragrance Sales Smell Sweet
Intimate Beauty intends to continue to expand Victoria’s Secret prestige fragrance line by creating fragrances that are coordinated with existing Victoria’s Secret lingerie lines or vice versa. Dream Angels is the #1 prestige women’s fragrance in the U.S., according to Burns, which can only be further enhanced by the recent launch of the Angels bra collection.

Body by Victoria, launched in Spring 2002, aims to leverage the key equities of the lingerie sub-brand. “It is sexy and modern,” Burns said, “It is fragrance for all your curves.”

Very Sexy for Her is the latest VS fragrance, unveiled at the beginning of the fourth quarter 2002, just in time for what Burns predicted would be a “Very Sexy Holiday.”

Very Sexy for Her ties into the existing success of Very Sexy for Him fragrance and the Very Sexy lingerie collection.

There are now over 500 Victoria’s Secret Beauty stores where fragrance, color cosmetic and personal care products are presented in bright, feminine environments.

Color Cosmetics Grows
Color cosmetics are becoming a more important part of Victoria’s Secret Beauty. “Our Sexy Color business has greatly increased its importance to our business in the last three years,” stated Baker. “Each year, we continue to roll out our color collection to more Victoria’s Secret Beauty stores. At present, our Beauty stores that do not carry the color collection are simply too small to appropriately service color and were built before the color collection existed.”

Victoria’s Secret Beauty is expanding its color cosmetics to more stores.

The color line consists of products for lips, eyes and face including, lipsticks, lip glosses, eye shadows, eye pencils, mascaras, blushes, powders, foundations and concealers. Color products are offered in a variety of gift sets.

Strategy for Future Growth
Burns has committed to continue to maintain focus on fragrance as the company’s “best at” category and to leverage the power of the Victoria’s Secret megabrand. Future growth will also come by expanding the company’s customer base and increasing its real estate in high potential malls and markets.

Packaging Reflects the Brand
The majority of Victoria’s Secret Beauty packaging is designed in-house, according to Marcia Mossack, executive vice president, chief creative officer for the company. Mossack oversees the entire creative department for Victoria’s Secret Beauty, which is split into 2-Dimensional and 3-Dimensional design. The 3-Dimensional group is led by Aloise Levesque, who has a team of art directors and designers reporting to her.

The packaging for all Victoria’s Secret Beauty is designed to appeal to its audience, a broad segment of women ranging in age and ethnicity. Mossack explained, “What they all have in common is the desire to be sexy, beautiful and very feminine. All of our packaging design must align with the position of the VS megabrand, which is sexy, sophisticated and ultra-feminine. However, each sub-brand has a very distinct personality while still maintaining the overall brand image.”

While declining to explain in detail how design preparation is handled at VSB, Mossack said, “Our inspiration comes from a variety of places, whether it is an object or something in nature. Popular culture is a big source of inspiration, which includes magazines, music videos, films, museums, and design books. We follow fashion trends very closely and constantly shop stores. We look for things that are sexy and feminine. Victoria’s Secret lingerie is a great source of inspiration for that.”

Once the creative is determined, Victoria Secret Beauty outsources the various components needed for every package as well as the manufacturing of all its beauty products.

There are now nine Aura Science locations open. A joint venture of Intimate Beauty and Shiseido, the stores have a luminous, open look that invites consumers in and makes finding product—treatment, fine fragrance and color cosmetics—a simple pleasure.

Aura Science: The Best of Two Partners
Aura Science, a specialty store concept that is a joint venture combining the retail expertise of Intimate Beauty Corp. and the product/packaging proficiency of Shiseido, opened its first location in Easton Town Center in Columbus, OH, in April 2002.

Describing the new store, Burns said, “Aura Science is a complete beauty destination that focuses on skin care throughout each phase of a woman’s life. We offer every woman a brand that approaches her as an individual—one that listens and understands her specific beauty needs and desires.”

From the open, white-on-white floor plan, to color-coded-skin care lines and uniquely packaged cosmetics, Aura Science has been carefully planned to the last detail. An in-house design team partnered with David Collins, a London architect, to design the store space, which is said to be “stimulating, both visually and emotionally. It is modern, white-on-white, with radiating light that brightens, energizes and invites.” The images are provocative, and the space is easy to shop. The result is a modern space that is inviting and doesn’t feel crowded or cluttered. Virtually all the product can be seen from anywhere in the store, while curved displays gently guide traffic.

Aura Science was totally on target by the end of December 2002, having opened its ninth store in Towne Center, Boca Raton, FL, Dec. 12, according to Lynn Emmolo, executive vice president and general manager of the company. “All of the stores have the same feeling—a white glow with the products arrayed like eye candy,” Emmolo said.

There are now Aura Science stores in Ohio (1), Illinois (2), New Jersey (1), Maryland (1), Virginia (1) and Florida (3).

Burns reported, “The initial results (of Aura Science) have been very positive—with our average dollar purchase and units per purchase trending above plan. Importantly, the brand has been well received by customers and we have already seen a high rate of repeat traffic.”

“This first year is a test and we’ll know what comes next, once we’ve evaluated it,” said Emmolo. “We’ve captured almost 30,000 names and that’s before the last three doors opened in November and December.”

Once the results are in, Emmolo said, “We’ll evaluate and tweak the concept. The greatest benefit of specialty retail is that it allows us to create a brand environment. Aura Science is for women who want to look their best. We’ve designed the entire experience to appeal to her. The approach is personal. There is no particular age group. We’re for teens to seniors. We offer personalized skin care education as well as product. In Florida, we’re working with women who are in their eighties. Skin changes and Aura Science can help women look their best through all life’s stages.

Recoup recovery cream is presented in a shimmery white jar with asymmetric curves, carefully designed to fit a feminine hand. Protect foundation is packaged in a softly frosted oval jar with a pearlescent cap. The Aura Science fragrances all use the same gently curved bottle, each shaded in one of the brand’s signature colors.

Packaging Follows the Theme
Aura Science product packaging is carefully designed to complement the store atmosphere with designs that convey modern femininity with soft, sensual shapes, according to an Aura Science spokesperson. “The skin care products are packaged in vibrant, saturated colors, a signature mark of the Aura Science brand,” she added.

The color cosmetic line, which includes products for face, lips, eyes and nails, is packaged in understated yet feminine containers. The eye shadow and blush, for example, are each presented in asymmetrical white pearlescent plastic ovals. A handy button on the side opens the compact to present the product and applicator facing a mirror. The lipstick container is a compact plastic bullet in a deep metallic brown plastic. The lip gloss containers feature a clear, color-evident barrel capped in the same metallic brown as the lipstick. Nail polish bottles are slender glass ovals, designed to be easily held during application. To develop the distinctive packaging for the line, Aura Science partnered with a Shiseido team that has been solely focused on Aura Science. The package development team was led by Shunsaku Sugiura of Shiseido and the primary components are sourced in Japan. The Shiseido team works closely with the Aura Science group to be sure the packaging is just right and approved by all.

Line Adds Fragrances, Treatment, Foundation
The product line has already started expanding with Protect, a 24-shade foundation line launched in mid-October, three new fragrances introduced in mid-November, and Recoup, a new skin care product that has been at retail since Nov. 25.

Called Protect, the new liquid foundation offers: antioxidant protection SPF 15; weightless coverage and enhanced appearance of the skin thanks to an antioxidant-rich, light reflecting formula, according to the company. Emmolo stated, “We worked hard to develop a full range of shades for all skin types. It’s ‘the last step to great skin,’ and we’ve also introduced a face makeup brush that has an extravagant feel and blends liquid makeup on the face like none other.”

Three distinct scents were introduced in keeping with the Aura Science goal of “giving women a choice,” said Emmolo. The new fragrances are described as “each reflecting a different element of the individual. The three are: Heart, Awakened, said to be a floriental that is complex, mysterious and open to pure emotion; Spirit, Awakened, described as a blend of rich greens and woody florals that is expressive, energetic and charismatic, and Grace, Awakened, a blend of effervescent fruity florals and watery florals with a hint of warm spice, for an effect that is confident, centered and timeless. The fragrances are presented in an organic bottle featuring soft curves accented by shaded color that is deepest at the base. Each fragrance appears in a shade of the Aura Science signature colors: turquoise, brown and white.

Recoup, a higher-end product called the recovery cream for instant revival, promises the kind of results that Baby Boomers are seeking. It is presented in a shimmery white jar carefully designed to fit beautifully in a feminine hand.

The Joys of Building Something New
“It’s wonderful to build a brand from scratch,” Emmolo said. “We wanted to make the skin care packages soft, rounded and colorful and spent a lot of time deciding on just the right red.”

The white pearlescent compacts drew inspiration from beach stones with soft, rounded contours. “Even the top has a curve,” Emmolo noted. “We chose white too because we wanted the colors of the products to pop when the compact is opened. Even the brown cartons have a surprise—orange inside—when the box is opened. We pulled the inspiration for skin care through the color line as well.”

Regarding next year and future stores, Emmolo said, “A few facts have emerged. We know that a great location is paramount and we know that a somewhat smaller footprint is better than the larger format. We also know that our customers are shopping the skin care and the color lines equally. It’s great, they’re shopping for beauty.”

Bath & Body Works stores tempt consumers to pamper themselves with Daily Beauty Rituals and products from other sub brands.

Bath & Body Works
Charts a Path to Well-Being

Bath & Body Works (BBW), which opened first in 1990, is a totally separate brand, operating over 1,630 stores.

The company has had a challenging time over the past two years, but has a plan to get back on track. For 2001, it reported $1.747 billion in sales from 1,615 stores, a decline of 11%. But the company is very optimistic about the brand’s future.

In a presentation given this fall on the state of the business, Bath & Body Works senior management said, “We are building from a position of strength as we have very high brand loyalty … and it’s that loyalty that gives us license to expand and enhance the assortment, because our customers trust the brand.”

BBW’s Aromatherapy line is the largest of its kind in the world.

A BBW product has been purchased by 54% of the women in the U.S. in the past six months, according to independent market research. The research also found that the name Bath & Body Works registered a 97% awareness score with American women ages 14 to 59, which parallels brands such as Nike, Coca Cola and Kleenex.

Bath & Body Works intends to capitalize on that awareness by focusing on health and well-being as the company transitions to being a lifestyle brand. BBW’s new mantra is, “Focusing on the well-being of the BBW means looking at her inner and outer beauty needs and satisfying both.”

In order to do that, BBW will offer personal care products that are used for inner and outer beauty, plus lifestyle assortments in terms of home fragrance and accessories.



BBW Website Offers Help

In November 2002, BBW unveiled its online Solution Center at www.BathandBodyWorks.com, a website offering well-being and healthy living ideas to consumers. In addition to inspirational ideas and everyday solutions to alleviate tension and stress, the site will regularly feature experts’ advice, articles and key information as well as benefits of products such as Aromatherapy and True Blue Spa. In December, the website was offering the “Guide to a Stress-Free Holiday,” and in January, under the title “Make This Your Happiest, Healthiest Year Ever!,” it presented a variety of articles for effective ways to make positive lifestyle changes.

“The goal of BathandBodyWorks.com is to educate our customers about reducing stress and improving their overall well-being and the role our products play in helping to achieve those goals,” noted a company spokesperson. “We want BathandBodyWorks.com to be an important resource to our customers before they come into the store and long after their purchases.

Bath & Body Works offers a spa experience sought by many consumers but experienced by few. Such pampering products include: (left to right) Salt Scrub, White Tea and Ginger body splash and Green Tea and Cucumber Essence body lotion.

Sub Brands Provide Access to Pampering
Aromatherapy and True Blue Spa are the two core sub brands that are intended to help grow BBW. Through these lines, BBW offers its customers access to product and pampering not readily available to most.

The Aromatherapy brand is the largest in the world, according to BBW, and the company is in a prime position to expand the assortment as the concept becomes a growing trend.

True Blue Spa offers the average American woman access to spa services, which only a fraction of the population actually frequent. The company pointed out that according to a consumer questionnaire, only 4% of women surveyed regularly get facials; 11% get massages and 18% get manicures and pedicures. Yet, the idea of a spa experience has great appeal to just about everyone: 74% of those surveyed said they would love to get a facial at a spa; 78% would love to get a massage at a spa; 48% like to use pampering products to create a mini-spa at home; and 30% often give themselves facials at home. BBW’s goal is to make these desires more attainable to their customers with the True Blue Spa line.

Daily Beauty Rituals a Great Foundation
The Daily Beauty Rituals line of personal care products has formed the basis for BBW for years with the only changes being to add new fragrances. The company has done significant research to find out where the brand might be improved. “We found out the Daily Rituals bottle is an icon for our customers,” said Ron Longsdorf, senior vice president of package design for BBW. “So, we have chosen not to change the bottle at this point in time.”

Feedback did indicate that customers’ tastes had changed, motivating an updating of the graphics and colors to better fit its consumers’ level of sophistication. The formulation has also been changed with the incorporation of natural extracts.

Concept to Container
There are “literally thousands of SKUs in the Bath & Body Works line,” said Longsdorf. While not every store will have the same exact mix, there is a core line of 20 fragrances, each with coordinating products such as body lotion, shower gel, and bubble bath, etc. that are in every store.

All those packages come out of a process of design and development, but there is no one single way BBW goes about determining what package will work for each product.

“BBW is about fashion as well as personal care,” said Longsdorf. “We are very concerned about being relevant to what’s going on in the marketplace. We are aware that our consumer is very sophisticated. She’s savvy, she knows what’s available and knows the differences between products. She’s developed a new set of desires and needs and can make a decision quickly.

“It challenges us to be sure that we give her what she wants,” Longsdorf emphasized.

The BBW audience is not a narrowly defined group. There is a product on counter there for everyone—children to seniors. Longsdorf explained, “There are tens of millions of women who shop BBW every year—it’s not a narrow profile. We try to represent many taste levels and are now engaged in taking it all to a higher level, because consumers have become more sophisticated in their tastes.”

Packaging for each of the many products is a combination of function and style, according to Longsdorf. “So many people at BBW contribute to that combination,” he said, “from the merchant who asks for a product to the product development team, the package design staff and the package development department.”

Longsdorf heads up the design group of over 30 individuals that creates over one thousand new packages a year. The team is also very involved in developing gift sets and decorative accessories. Each idea is explored. “They may not all end up on the shelf, but all will get to the prototype stage,” he said. “Once a concept has become a prototype, it is passed onto the package development department, which transitions it into a “manufacturable vessel.” And, while the packaging groups are working on their parts, the product (or juice) development group is developing the best fragrances and formulas for the various finished goods.

Discovering the Latest Trends
But well before prototypes, BBW’s package design staff is doing its homework. The internal staff is augmented by outside assistance. “We also work with design studios and freelance talent from around the world,” Longsdorf said, adding, “We’re constantly looking for new talent and fashion trends. We must figure out what to do and then answer the challenge of getting it done.”

Because the latest trend does not just magically appear, Longsdorf and his staff study a variety of value indicators in order to know what the next important thing will be. For example, “Since Sept. 11, comfort, security and the idea of home are all more important than ever,” he noted.

Limited Design Services, a central design studio maintained in New York City for all Limited Brands organizations, is available for work and collaboration. Longsdorf joined a Limited Design Services team on a recent fact-finding trip to Europe. “We went to four different cities to get a sense of what the trends associated with Christmas are. There seems to be a new sensibility this year emerging there that is very exciting. We’re already working on Christmas 2003.”

New packages are only a part of the design team’s responsibilities. In terms of updating existing packages, Longsdorf said, “We’ll change anything that makes sense to better appeal to the consumer on an aspirational level.”

Once the prototype has been finalized, the various components are jobbed out. BBW’s product development group shops the world for packaging suppliers. Longsdorf concluded, “It all comes together in the package, but then we also must create the store environment so that every product is shown to its best advantage.”

So far, there are 30 stand-alone White Barn Candle Company stores and 93 that are side-by-side with Bath & Body Works stores. WBC product is also sold through over 1,630 BBW doors.

The White Barn Candle Company:
Home Scent Source

Launched as a separate brand in November 1999, The White Barn Candle Company (WBC) meets a growing demand for innovative home fragrances and décor. Its products are offered in 30 stand alone stores and 93 side-by-side stores, while a select product offering is also available in all Bath & Body Works stores.

The company’s plans to grow WBC are two-fold, according to Christiane Michaels, president of The White Barn Candle Co. First it will grow as an integral part of Bath & Body Works with an assortment of home fragrance in over 1,630 BBW stores and second, WBC will evolve as a separate store (connected or not to Bath & Body Works).

The Frosted Collection from White Barn Candle Co. includes Perfume for the Home, Fragrance Mist for the Home and RealEssence Frosted Filled Candle - Scented Candle.


“The White Barn Candle Co.brand is an integral part of Bath & Body Works with the opportunity to represent a lifestyle layer of home fragrance in all the BBW stores. The brand also has the opportunity to continue to develop its own store base connected to Bath & Body Works stores,” said a company spokesperson.

Michael’s goal for WBC is that the brand should stand for and dominate the home fragrance business. “The brand enters the lifestyles of our customers by offering a home fragrance assortment that enables her to personalize and accessorize her home with various fashion trends,” she stated.

While BBW Design handles the creation of any home fragrance packaging that uses BBW brand graphics (such as Daily Beauty Rituals, True Blue Spa or Aromatherapy), the product itself (the candle, the potpourri, etc.) is designed by the The White Barn Candle Company’s design group. It is based in Columbus, OH, under the direction of David Baraky, vice-president of design, who recently joined the company.