Things are coming up roses, or, in this case, plumeria, for operators of Malie Kauai, the Kaua’i-based, beauty-lifestyle company that has reached retail royalty.
The Malie Kauai brand of floral-essence aromatherapy and hydrosol-based personal care, home care and fragrancing products, is now being sold on the Mainland at Nordstrom stores, a leading national retailer.
Malie Kauai is the first Hawaiian company to be retailed by Nordstrom, and is debuting at Nordstrom South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, Calif., Nordstrom at the Grove in West Los Angeles, and Nordstrom at Spectrum in Irvine, Calif., according to company President Dana Roberts, who owns the company with her husband Shaun Roberts.
“Nothing happens without a cold call. I began calling on the buying offices across the country when we launched a year and a half ago,” Dana Roberts said.
“With Nordstrom being a huge company, I had difficulty obtaining the correct buyers, until Nor-dstrom called us from our publicrelations placements in People and Lucky magazines,” she said, referring to mentions of Malie Kauai in those publications.
Her reaction upon learning of the Nordstrom partnership?
“Excitement and concern,” she said. “It was very exciting to have our small, boutique company from Kaua’i on the shelves of one of the largest luxury retailers in the country.
“When we tell our suppliers the product they have spent years developing on the island are finally tied to a brand like Nordstrom, it is exciting for all of us.”
Previously, Malie Kauai retail distribution was concentrated within spas, resorts, and boutiques in the United States and around the world. In August, company leaders celebrated the grand opening of their own, branded, lifestyle boutique in Hawai’i.
Roberts said the Nordstrom partnership is just the beginning, but also said the company owners are savvy enough not to put all their scented eggs in one basket.
“Initial distribution will be concentrated in West Coast stores, but we are hoping to expand to all 96 Nordstrom full-line stores,” she said.
“At this time, Nordstrom is a piece in the cash-flow puzzle. Nordstrom will not make or break Malie Kauai, and if Nordstrom came to us with all 150 locations, we would have to launch the products on a store-by-store basis over time,” she said.
“Shaun and I have learned that it is very important not to rely on the success of one retailer to build a company,” she said.
“For us, we look at the success of Malie Kauai at Nordstrom as one step closer to company success, but also a positive indicator of our brand value and integrity,” she said.
She said the key to Malie Kauai’s growth has been to “think globally, act locally.”
“When developing the line, we look at the global marketplace for the benchmark for Malie Kauai in terms of quality of products, indigenous ingredients, chemistry, packaging and branding. Then we looked at Kaua’i’s precious resources, and incorporate what we have to offer to meet the benchmark,” she said.
Roberts hailed Kaua’i’s natural resources as a key component of the quality of the product.
“We feel Kaua’i’s resources should be a global leader in the cosmetics industry. The French with lavender have dominated too long in the beauty industry, and we are working to share how beautiful Kaua’i’s nature is, and its benefits for beauty,” she said.
Roberts said she and Shaun Roberts are faced with vendor-compliance issues of shipping to a mass retailer. She said the shipping instructions were 30 pages alone. Roberts said they were also concerned about what their smaller boutiques and spas customers would think about being sold in a large retailer like Nordstrom.
Malie Kauai’s full product line will be sold at Nordstrom. This includes soy candles, room sprays, linen mists and washes, and hand and dish soaps for the home. For the body, there are body polishes, a mango-butter bun that works as an in-shower moisturizer, body creams, body lathers, and bar soaps.
Malie Kauai also makes a unique, solid, essential perfume that pampers the spirit, she said. Tropical blends and aromas to choose from are plumeria, gardenia, pikake, coconut vanilla, coconut pineapple, sugar cane ginger, sea salt coconut, and coffee macadamia.
The collection retail price points are suggested at $12 to $45, and are also available at www.maliekauai.com.
In addition to being the first Hawaiian company to team with Nordstrom, Malie Kauai is also the first tropical fragrance company to manufacture products utilizing Hawaiian hydrosols as the base for their formulations.
Hawaiian hydrosols are the truest essence of the flower, according to information provided by Malie Kauai. They are the liquid derived directly from flowers, and the most basic unit of a plant.
While many fragrances in the market use artificial fragrancing to replicate distinct floral scents, Malie Kauai is truly authentic and all-natural with its unique delivery system for incorporating the pure floral and fruit essences of Kaua’i into their product formulations, she concluded.
- Andy Gross, business editor, may be reached at 2453681 (ext. 251) or firstname.lastname@example.org