L.L. Bean cleans up

Something new is in the mail for L.L. Bean buyers: skin care. The Freeport, ME-based apparel cataloger has unveiled a line of skin-care products in the summer 2000 edition of its Clothes for Women title. The product offering is a first of its kind for the catalog company.

Products such as facial cleansers and body lotions may seem an unlikely offering for a catalog famous for its rugged outdoor apparel, but “we want to be as full-service to our women buyers as we can within reason and our brand,” says Ramey Whight-Chipman, manager of marketing and merchandise planning for L.L. Bean’s women’s line. “If we’re going to advocate an outdoor lifestyle, taking care of one’s skin is an important part of that.”

Indeed, true to its outdoor roots, L.L. Bean’s skin-care products include sun protection. The line includes facial cleanser, SPF 15 facial moisturizer, SPF 15 lip balm, and SPF 15 body lotion. “One of the items we’re happiest with is the SPF body lotion,” says Whight-Chipman. “It eliminates the need for adding another round of sunscreen.”

The skin-care products are now available only as part of the L.L. Bean Skin Care Kit, sold for $39 in all of the company’s women’s catalogs, on its Website, and in its stores. As to when the products will be available for individual sale, “we’ll look at the performance of the skin-care line and reevaluate our strategy,” Whight-Chipman says. So far, she says, response and customer feedback to the line has been favorable, though she won’t disclose any numbers.

Bean customers shouldn’t count on finding lipsticks to match their windbreakers any time soon, however. “We won’t be offering makeup,” Whight-Chipman says. “Our focus is more on skin care than beauty products.”

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