Crafty Dentist Snags Victoria's Secret For Specialty Toothpaste

by , Nov 24, 2006, 5:00 AM
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Victoria's Secret plans a national rollout in January of a $6.99 whitening toothpaste made specifically for the lingerie chain by an entrepreneurial New York City dentist who shares the retailer's affinity for pink.

Packaged in a pink box with pink and black leopard print inside, Dr. Debra Glassman's whitening toothpaste, Starbrite, made its debut in 71 Victoria's Secret stores earlier this month. The 4.2-oz. tubes are being merchandised at store registers.

Approximately 6,000 samples will be given out with purchases at certain of the test stores through December, with another 2,100 samples for sales reps.

Glassman said there will be a "major launch" for Starbrite in January with a PR push targeting beauty editors at such publications as Vibe, Vixen, Glamour, InTouch, and OK magazines.

Not your everyday dentist, Dr. Debra, as she calls herself, enjoys having celebrity clientele and always works in a pink lab coat, pink gloves and pink mask, "because I'm female and pink is my favorite color. One of my clients is a designer, and made me sparkling buttons for my coat."

Glassman practices cosmetic dentistry on Manhattan's Upper West Side with her husband, Dr. Steve Glassman, and said she has had the idea for a toothpaste for a long time. She waited until she had a commitment from Victoria's Secret before she actually went through the trouble of manufacturing Starbrite.

This is the first year that Victoria's Secret added outside brands to its beauty business, which had consisted of house brand bath and body products, fragrances, and cosmetics. When Glassman noticed this, she said, she managed to set up a meeting with a VS executive, "who loved it." At that point, she found a private label manufacturer to make the product.

Victoria's Secret didn't require Starbrite to be an exclusive, so Glassman struck deals with the Venetian and Wynn Hotels in Las Vegas, which will also put the toothpaste in guest rooms and sell it in their gift shops. Glassman said she's also selling Starbrite in her dental office.

The toothpaste contains fluoride and xylitol--an artificial sweetener Glassman says is an antibacterial agent helping to prevent cavities and protect the gums. It's an all-in-one, she says, a whitening toothpaste with an extra ingredient for added benefit. This positioning is not unlike Colgate Total, which contains the antibacterial agent tricolosan to prevent gingivitis, but lacks the sexy packaging.

Coming next year from Dr. Debra: pink dental floss coated with xylitol, and pink mouthwash.

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