After 50 years, product gets a new look
than 50 years, Pretty Feet & Hands - in its square
bottle with blue lettering - had looked pretty much
B.F. Ascher and Co. Inc., which bought the exfoliant
from another company in 1994, knew a change was needed
to make the product's packaging more attractive and
this business, you either evolve or die," said Chris
B. Ascher, executive vice president of marketing and
sales for the Lenexa company.
Ascher itself is no stranger to change. The company
was founded as a manufacturer of prescription drugs by
Bordner Frederick Ascher in 1949. But in the 1970s and
1980s, the focus was redirected to over-the-counter
then, the company has purchased several products to
bring its over-the-counter line to 22, accounting for
90 percent of sales. These products - including the
company's top-selling AYR Saline line - are sold
across the country and in Puerto Rico.
hasn't changed is the name behind the products. The
company is owned by the founder's son, James Ascher
Sr., who runs the business with his two sons, James
Ascher Jr. and Chris Ascher.
the new products has come sales growth, but the
Aschers would only say company sales are between $15
million and $25 million.
Ascher employs approximately 50 people at its
30,000-square-foot warehouse, office and testing
facility in Lenexa. Products are manufactured
Pretty Feet & Hands, the product was the latest of
several Ascher products to get the redesign treatment.
Recent repackagings included Benzedrex, Hold cough
drops, Ornex antihistamine, Congestec, and Allergy
Relief Medicine, known as ARM.
process is extensive - and expensive.
Pretty Feet & Hands - which was known simply as Pretty
Hands when it was created more than 50 years ago - the
company conducted four consumer focus groups and
considered 16 bottle designs.
deciding on a sleek design with an easier grip, B.F.
Ascher launched a marketing campaign by engaging
customers in Texas, one of the product's strongest
sales areas, in an essay contest. Women submitted
pictures of their feet with an essay for a chance to
win a week at a spa and to have their feet featured in
upcoming advertisements. The company also offered
coupons and free samples on its Web site.
company estimated that the new package mold alone cost
$100,000 to produce. And Ascher had to temporarily
double its inventory while selling the old packages
and ordering the new.
hope to re-create brand loyalty and tap into new
generations," said James J. Ascher Sr., chairman, who
describes Pretty Feet & Hands as an excellent product
"your grandmother may have used."
Feet & Hands accounts for about 8 percent of sales,
and Ascher said the company hopes to see sales double
with the repackaging.
immediately after the new packages started shipping in
October, sales were up a little over 10 percent, the
Richmond, owner of Bruce Smith Drugs in Prairie
Village, has done business with B.F. Ascher since
"Packaging is very important. It has to continue to
look different than any other product on the shelf,"
said Richmond. "I think Ascher is very good at doing