Online Exclusives

Year of the Tiger

By Christine Esposito, Associate Editor | July 6, 2010

Lucky Tiger is celebrating its 75th anniversary with a trio of new products and expanded distribution that skews to both its barbershop heritage and use of natural ingredients.

According to the Chinese Zodiac, 2010 is the year of the Tiger—and it seems fitting that personal care brand Lucky Tiger is ready to roar. The venerable range is rolling out a trio of new products, adding new distribution channels and re-launching its e-commerce site.

Not bad for a brand that’s turning 75 years old.

At Last Naturals, a privately-held Valhalla, NY natural health firm, acquired the venerable brand in the late 1990s. The plan was to mesh its expertise in naturals with Lucky Tiger’s grooming heritage. In 2006, the range was reformulated as certified organic and launched in Nordstrom.

Two years later, At Last was ready to add new products to the Lucky Tiger den, but the economy was slowing. Company officials Stacey Rosen, who is president and chief executive officer, and her husband Fred Rosen, who is executive vice president, decided to put everything on the back burner and wait until the market began to show signs of recovery.

That time has come. The firm has rolled out Lucky Tiger “Head to Tail” products, including Peppermint Shampoo and Body Wash ($19.50), Vetiver Deodorant and Body Spray ($18) and Acne and Blemish Soap ($19.50), each formulated with natural and organic botanical ingredients, antioxidants and vitamins. The packaging for these 2-in-1, multi-tasking products reflects the retro Lucky Tiger Premium look but is distinguished from the rest of the collection by its blue and gold label, according to company officials.
A reason to roar. Lucky Tiger has rolled out a line of products ranging from shampoo and body wash to acne soap.
Change in Direction

In addition to the new SKUs, there’s also been a shift in strategy for Lucky Tiger. The range has been pulled out of Nordstrom, with At Last now working through natural product distributors to stock the products at retailers such as Whole Foods, The Vitamin Shoppe and drug stores such as Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy. In addition, Lucky Tiger can be found at barbershops and specialty gift shop/apothecaries such as Caswell-Massey.

The diverse retail mix shows how a brand such as Lucky Tiger can corner an eclectic mix of customers—from the old school barbershop client to the eco-conscious consumer—with products that run the gamut from mustache wax and hair tonic to eye serum and vetiver deodorant body spray.

Yet while the men’s and naturals markets are two hot categories within personal care, At Last knows shelf presence alone does not guarantee success, especially for smaller brands.
“There are fewer smaller, family-owned businesses, especially in the men’s market these days,” Fred Rosen said, pointing to firms such as Art of Shaving, which have been acquired by larger firms like P&G.

“It is harder for a niche brand to keep product launches going—but there is still a marketplace,” Rosen told Happi, noting that companies need to seek out the avenues for growth that exist within the space.

To carve out its niche and mark the 75th anniversary, Lucky Tiger recently re-launched its website, and now has an active presence on Facebook and Twitter.

“If you don’t have a good online presence and not using social media, then you are going to be dead in water,” Rosen said.

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