Online Exclusives

Tova Marks a Milestone

May 30, 2008

Tova Borgnine celebrates 30 years in the beauty business.

Signature Style

Tova Borgnine celebrates 30 years in the beauty business.

By Melissa Meisel
Associate Editor

Imagine being the top-selling fragrance on QVC, having sold over 10 million bottles to date on television without customers being able to smell the scent until it arrives in the mail. This is the world of Tova Borgnine, recent nominee for the FiFi 2008 Fragrance Hall of Fame award and head of the Tova Corporation celebrating 30 years of business. And how does she feel about it? “Success never smelled as sweet,” says Tova.

 Tova Borgine
The Tova Corporation began with $56,000 sent by mail from readers eager to try a cactus-based masque Tova discovered on a trip to Mexico with her actor husband, Ernest.  Soon, Hollywood friends were trying the homemade formulation, which Tova called Cactine.  When Ernest alluded to it as a “Face Lift in a Jar” during an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, the masque and the story received national attention and a business was born.  

Tova expanded the Cactine skin care line to include eye makeup remover, moisturizer, toner and a moisture masque to complement the original masque. In 1982, Tova was ready to break new ground and develop her own fragrance, which became Tova Signature—“a true American classic,” according to Tova. The fragrance is aged for three months and uses pure essential oils such as bergamot, jasmine absolute, French lavender, sandalwood and musk.

"Customers are on their 50th bottle and have gone into second generations, where the daughters are now loving Tova Signature as their mothers do. It is clean sensuality, feminine, alluring and never overpowering,” says Tova of the celebratory fragrance recently celebrating its 25th anniversary on the market. “Men love it because it’s as if you just stepped out of a spring shower. You put it on in the morning and six to eight hours later you may not notice it, however, I promise you that people will ask you what you are wearing. It becomes your signature.”

In 1990, another marketing breakthrough occurred when Tova was asked to appear on a trial basis on the televised shopping network, QVC. In 1998, she broke all previous sales figures on QVC when she sold 100,000 fragrance gift sets in mere minutes, nearly crashing QVC’s massive telephone system in the process.  Today, loyal QVC shoppers await Tova’s next release—most recently, Tova Signature Summer.

 Tova Signature Summer is called a sparking citrus.
According to Tova, “As Tova Signature is the classic, Tova Signature Summer brings out the playful side of us with a zest of sun-drenched sparkling citrus interpretation like a sparkling spring breeze, transparent, vibrant and carefree. This fragrance embodies renewal, transparency, clarity and tranquility.”

As for 30 years in the beauty business, “We were way ahead of our time and now we’re right on target,” says Tova. Upcoming releases for the brand include a Signature Skin Smoothing Body Balm and Signature Soft Shimmer Dry Oil. Additionally, according to Tova, the company is working on a Signature fragrance for Holiday 2008.

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