P&G Gives Birth To A Web Baby

Its reflect.com melds P&G's labs and Silicon Valley savvy

Last February, a group of executives at consumer-products powerhouse Procter & Gamble Co. had a bold idea. They wanted to start selling cosmetics and hair products customized to the looks and preferences of each woman who shops on the Internet. Sounds ambitious, even for the world's third-largest beauty-care provider, with sales of $7.5 billion on such brands as Max Factor, Vidal Sassoon, and Noxema. But the team went to work and, in just a few months, they came up with a business plan, developed a technology to customize products, and created a prototype Web site. They even picked a catchy name for the new venture: reflect.com.

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