At a recent luncheon hosted by Benefit Singapore, I was able to meet Maggie and Annie Ford Danielson, the stunning and statuesque daughters of Jean Ford, who co-founded Benefit Cosmetics in 1976 with her sister Jane Ford.
Also known as Benefit’s Makeup Trend Artists, Annie and Maggie travel around the world, spreading Bene-love. With their chiselled features and flawless makeup, the sisters are the best spokespeople for Benefit!
The lunch was replete with Benefit trivia and much laughter, thanks to their cheery anecdotes about Benefit’s products and being in the family business.
Here’s what I learnt during the lively session, among other Bene-bits:
- The sisters officially joined Benefit in 2008. Raised in a household where their mother and aunt were constantly concocting makeup mixes and lotion-potions in the kitchen, they are familiar with the art and business of beauty.
- Maggie is the account manager for the Home Shopping Network (HSN) in the US, while Annie is in charge of product development. They see what they do as an opportunity to spread their mother and aunt’s legacy; their job is their life and they are proud of who they are.
- According to them, fun and smiles are part of the company culture…even in the finance department. Needless to say, humour and playfulness characterise their products. So evident in their product names, no? :)
- The diminutive but versatile collection of 200+ products serve women across the world. Benefit does not follow trends; instead it is a customer-driven brand that focuses on meeting the needs of women everywhere.
It’s nice to know that although they do not have an overwhelming number of products, the compact collection of universal colours and wearable products cleverly prettifies and preens. I for one am glad that Benefit hasn’t taken on the limited edition/seasonal makeup thing – it can be exhausting trying to keep up…and stock up on something that might be discontinued in the future!
- In a move to more adequately meet the needs of their customers and to give them a full experience, the brand has launched the B.right! Radiant Skincare range to complement its makeup range.
- The classic Benetint story about the liquid being developed for an exotic dancer who wanted pretty pink nipples is entirely true!
- A new tint, ChaChaTint, will be coming our way soon. According to the brand, it is an orange shade, reminiscent of a ripe mango. *yum*
- Benefit has a presence in 33 countries.
- The first non-US market Benefit ventured into was the UK, where it is doing very well 10+ years on.
- Benefit celebrates its 10th year in Australia this year.
- Asia is a key priority for the brand – the Asian beauty industry is ‘forever raising the bar’ and the company aspires to meet those standards. In fact, Benefit is thriving in China, Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan. In addition, it has a steady following in Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand (apparently their Brow Bars are a hit in the Land of Smiles).
- One of the reasons they’ve been warmly welcomed in Asia is the cute factor the brand embodies.
- Unfortunately, Benefit has yet to penetrate the Japanese beauty market because of its competitive nature and the high costs. They do see themselves entering Japan some time in the future, though.
- The top 10 Benefit products worldwide include:
* BadGal Lash Mascara
* The Porefessional
* Some Kind-a Gorgeous
- BadGal Lash Mascara is a worldwide best-seller but That Gal Brightening Face Primer is the brand’s top-seller in Singapore.
- Like MAC, Benefit spends very little money on advertisements, if any. Instead, the brand has relied on word-of-mouth recommendations, press events and maintaining an online presence – among other methods – to stay in business…and grow.
I was talking to Erica, their liaison officer, about how I loved that I could easily request for a Benefit beauty catalogue from the brand’s website way before they even shipped internationally or were available locally. With a glint in her eye, she revealed that that was one way to spread the word on Benefit’s products without having to take out expensive ads. A very clever marketing strategy indeed; overseas postage is a pittance, compared to ad costs.
What’s more, it works – I remember poring over the catalogues filled with whimsical artwork and witty sayings, deciding what to order through friends in the US! I had quite a few staple and fun items from Benefit by the time the brand actually made it here: High Beam, Moon Beam, Lemon Aid, Benetint, F.Y…Eye!, Cheekies, Lash Lovies…good stuff, all. ♥
After the lunch, Maggie and Annie held makeup demonstrations in the window display at Tangs Orchard.
Before the demos, the happy Benefit staff were handing out PosieTint promo cards.
Using many of Benefit’s star products, the sisters showed how easy-peasy it was to look put-together. I was particularly impressed by their tandem presentation – each was working in a separate window at the same time, yet the banter and explanations carried on seamlessly!
Here are the tools and products that the sisters used.
And here are the current gifts with purchase that include B.right! skincare samples, a pouch and a tote. :)