After posting double-digit gains for more than a decade, sales of personal care wipes have slowed in recent years as cash-strapped consumers debate the cost of convenience. But La Fresh is bucking the trend by putting a fresh spin on the wipes concept and posting big sales increases in the process.
The Chino, CA-based company was founded in 1997 by Eve Yen, who’s also the founder of Diamond Wipes International, which bills itself as the largest consumer and industrial wet wipes manufacturer on the West Coast of the US. La Fresh is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Diamond Wipes International, which got its start as a travel wipes business and was really “a pioneer in that space with the goal of lightening travelers’ loads,” noted Jennifer Norman, VP-marketing, La Fresh Group Inc.
La Fresh gives consumers a range of wipes to choose from.
“Retailers tell us that they wish they could double the size of their wipes section,” said Norman. “Given the economy, wipes are viewed a little luxury and from what we hear, there has been a dramatic pick up in sales.”
The La Fresh executive expects to get another boost with new Eco-Beauty Anti-Aging Face Cleanser Wipes, which promise to dissolve away surface toxins and makeup while revitalizing skin with active levels of antioxidants and mineral polypeptides.The antioxidants are sourced from maqui berry, a fruit know for its exceptional oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC).Moreover, the polypeptides are a bioavailable enzymatic blend of copper, zinc and manganese designed to lift skin’s youthful appearance.
Also new are Travel Lite Antiperspirant Wipes, which are said to provide long-lasting wetness and odor protection with invisible, non-whitening assurance.Travel Lite wipes come in women’s and men’s variants. To get the word out on the benefits of its products, LaFresh distributes one million samples a month, which leads to repeat purchases and strong word-of-mouth advertising, noted Norman.
The new product launches and aggressive marketing and distribution plans should help LaFresh’s sales soar in 2012. Norman said sales nearly doubled in 2011 and she expects the same type of gain this year.
“Sampling is a great way to build trial and ultimately, the brand,” she said. “Once people try our wipes, they love them.”