Online Exclusives

Building a Brand with Bobbi Brown

By Nancy Jeffries, Correspondent | June 25, 2010

Find out how '10 little lipsticks' became a billion-dollar brand.

Bobbi Brown has a mantra, that is “Women want to look and feel like themselves, only prettier and more confident.” This was the consistent message that held the attention of a sold out audience at the latest installment of the Women in Beauty series, presented by Cosmetic Executive Women, a non-profit professional organization with more than 3,600 executives in the beauty, cosmetics, fragrance and related industries.

Bobbi Brown, founder of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, Inc., and Maureen Case, president of specialty brands, the Estée Lauder Companies, Inc., were the featured presenters on June 23, 2010, at New York’s Harmonie Club, and gave the attendees an up close and personal look at the philosophy of a brand that had its genesis 20 years ago, with the creation by Bobbi Brown's “10 little lipsticks.” Maureen Case, who has worked with The Estée Lauder Companies for 20 years, eleven of them with Bobbi Brown, noted that, “The brand has stayed pretty much true to its vision.” Bobbi Brown said the message is, “That all women are beautiful and with the right products they can be even more beautiful.”

When Case began working with Bobbi Brown, it was right after 9-11, and they had this idea that color correct cosmetics, that is color options, not taupes and browns, would make women look better.
 
Left to right, Jill Scalamandre, CEW Chairwoman, Carlotta Jacobson, President, CEW, Bobbi Brown, Founder, Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, and Maureen Case, President of Specialty Brands, The Estée Lauder Companies, Inc., at CEW’s Women in Beauty series.
Brown agreed, “It’s important to have our makeup artists at counter to guide women, and Maureen Case, as president of Bobbi Brown, brought the “Be true to who you are message to women,” ultimately selling beauty and confidence. “I think there’s a Bobbi face and it takes a few easy steps and the right products,” said Brown.

Case concurred, “I’ve always felt that Bobbi had the reputation around the world, and the brand is now the number one cosmetic brand in Hong Kong. Any of you who know Bobbi, know that what you do for the inside is as important as what you do for the outside, and we want women to trust us and feel at home with us,” said Case.

"I try to make things simple and organized, although I’m not that organized, really. I did my first beauty book after serendipitously meeting a book agent on the beach,” noted Brown, whose next book, Bobbi Brown Beauty Rules, published by Chronicle Books, will launch in September 2010, and feature makeovers, makeup tips, and a celebration of natural beauty.

Brown asserts the need for the basics, saying, “You basically need your eye liner, concealer, hair color, and subtle makeup that makes you look pretty.” Case affirmed, saying, “Our process is really about those touches that make women look beautiful.”


Natural and Authentic Beauty


Confidence, naturalness and authenticity were recurring themes in the discussion, and a video installation, part of the brand’s Pretty Powerful campaign, illustrated the makeup philosophy behind the brand, revealing the subtle, yet effective differences that the right makeup can achieve. The campaign video explores the look of no makeup and the effects of the right makeup to make you look better. Brown says, “There are no trends anymore. It’s about women wanting to look like themselves, but better.

According to Case, giving women choices is what Bobbi Brown is all about.

“It’s important to keep track of your customers and keep them connected to the brand. Service and artistry are key and the future is in products that are multi-tasking, like skin care products with efficacy,” noted Case.

Internationally, the brand has a global presence, with more than 800 stores, in over 55 countries, and features a full line of Bobbi Brown cosmetics, including color cosmetics, fragrance, skin care, tools and accessories. Just 35% of the business is based in the U.S.

“Our business in China is really successful and Bobbi has always been curious, so when the Asian makeup artists come in, there is a process taking place, where there is a sharing of learning and developing techniques,” said Case.

For those starting out in the business, Brown said, “It’s hard work. It’s not a me-too business, you need something different when creating a new brand.”

Left to right, Carlotta Jacobson, President, CEW, with Bobbi Brown, Founder, Bobbi Brown Cosmetics Inc., and Maureen Case, President, Specialty Brands, The Estée Lauder Companies, Inc., who shared insight into Building a Brand.
Case emphasized the importance of looking at the white space and seeing what you can bring to it, adding, “Don’t let your imagination have boundaries. Successful entrepreneurs have to be a little bit crazy. Who would have thought that 10 little lipsticks would become a multi-million, soon to become a multi-billion dollar business?”

Brown noted the requirements of various international markets, saying, “In the Asian market it’s about clarity,” and Brown created an eraser that goes on the spots and covers them, and women don’t have to wear much makeup; or she sometimes changes or updates formulas. The process of creating her gel eyeliner came about when she was preparing for a photo shoot, and didn’t have eyeliner available. She lined her eyes with waterproof mascara, applied with a Q-tip, and found that it had not washed off the next morning. This ultimately formed the basis of the waterproof gel eyeliner that she had formulated.Brown emphasizes the importance of having simple, common sense solutions about makeup.

“Everybody wants the same thing all over the world. We all want to look good. I don’t really segment, but I listen to my artists in each market to see what the people really want,” she said.

Cosmetic Executive Women, whose mission is to advance the professional growth and leadership development of women in the beauty industry through career development programs, networking opportunities, access to industry leaders, and recognition of achievement, recently announced that effective June 17, 2010, the Board of Governors initiated an effort to increase male membership in the organization. The decision supports the goals of CEW’s Task Force for Advancing Women and Business. Additional information about this initiative, as well as the CEW Foundation, Cancer and Careers, CEW Beauty Achiever Awards, and more, please log on to: www.cew.org

Related End-User Markets:

blog comments powered by Disqus
  • Back to School

    Back to School

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||September 1, 2016
    It may be September, but class was in session this summer during the Private Label Manufacturers Association’s Executive Educ

  • Special Effects

    Special Effects

    Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor||August 1, 2016
    Fall 2016 color cosmetics reflect light and offer a focus on elements like pigment, slip and wear.

  • Sustainability is Omnipresent

    Sustainability is Omnipresent

    Christine Esposito , Associate Editor||July 1, 2016
    Industry stakeholders convene in New York City for Organic Monitor’s annual event

  • Cosmetic Chemists Head to Orlando Next Month

    Cosmetic Chemists Head to Orlando Next Month

    September 26, 2016
    Organizing Chair Guy Padulo explains why you should attend the IFSCC Congress.

  • ‘Lash’-ing Out!

    ‘Lash’-ing Out!

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||August 29, 2016
    All eyes are on Lash Star Beauty, a lash-centric beauty brand that recently made its QVC debut.

  • Individualism IS The American Way

    Individualism IS The American Way

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||August 15, 2016
    Why blue hair and BB creams still thrill US consumers.

  • Red, Black & Blue

    Red, Black & Blue

    August 8, 2016
    No matter who wins the US Presidential election, Americans expect their finances to get bloodied and bruised in 2017.

  • Pushin’ the Cushion

    Pushin’ the Cushion

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||July 26, 2016
    AmorePacific, the creator of the cushion compact, continues to improve its unique product.

  • What

    What's Next for the UK?

    Sarah Boumphrey, Euromonitor International||June 27, 2016
    Euromonitor weighs in on how Brexit could impact consumer product companies.

  • The Future of Innovation

    The Future of Innovation

    Nancy Jeffries, Contributing Editor||June 27, 2016
    Fashion Institute of Technology graduate students tackle a far-reaching topic for their Capstone project.

  • Problems for Preservatives

    Problems for Preservatives

    June 20, 2016
    David Steinberg details the issues surrounding this critical ingredient category.

  • Exploring Green in Vegas

    Exploring Green in Vegas

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||June 6, 2016
    Cosmoprof North America sets the stage for brands dedicated to the growing and evolving eco-friendly beauty space.

  • Luxury Re-Coded

    Luxury Re-Coded

    Nancy Jeffries, Online Editor||May 25, 2016
    Consumers have new expectations for beauty.

  • Procter Reels in Doctors

    Procter Reels in Doctors

    May 16, 2016
    The Procter & Gamble stand was abuzz during the annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology.

  • If You’re Going to San Francisco…

    If You’re Going to San Francisco…

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||May 13, 2016
    Be sure to contact the Bay Area Beauty Association.

  • Why Look Good, When You Can Look Perfect?

    Why Look Good, When You Can Look Perfect?

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||April 4, 2016
    A new way to try-before-you buy is capturing the attention of consumers and the beauty industry.

  • NYSCC Explores Product Innovation

    NYSCC Explores Product Innovation

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||March 14, 2016
    New product development, formulation expertise and proper preservation are topics of discussion at February monthly meeting.

  • What

    What's on Tap for 2016?

    Nancy Jeffries, Contributing Editor||February 8, 2016
    CEW and NPD present their beauty industry review and preview.

  • Perfect Timing

    Perfect Timing

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||January 11, 2016
    New ways of collecting data can help cosmetics companies understand what women really want—and when they want it.

  • When a Cosmetic Becomes a Drug

    When a Cosmetic Becomes a Drug

    Jacqueline Sheridan, Dinsmore & Shohl LLP||January 11, 2016
    The unintentional conversion of personal care products through marketing.

  • Color, Your World

    Color, Your World

    December 7, 2015
    A kaleidoscope of concepts was the conversation at a recent NYSCC symposium.

  • Hitting a Wall(mart)

    Hitting a Wall(mart)

    November 9, 2015
    Walmart imposes slotting fees and that hurts a lot of Tier 2 and 3 FMCG companies.

  • That’s Quite an Achievement!

    That’s Quite an Achievement!

    Nancy Jeffries, Contributing Editor||November 2, 2015
    The CEW honors seven beauty industry leaders.

  • No Coasting Here

    No Coasting Here

    August 12, 2015
    A Q&A with Coast Southwest CEO Joseph Cimo.

  • Game Face

    Game Face

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||August 3, 2015
    Meet the team behind Sweat Cosmetics, a new line of makeup built for more than a walk in the park.

  • Indie Innovators

    Indie Innovators

    Nancy Jeffries, Contributing Editor||July 20, 2015
    Independent beauty brands often tap the trends and set the tone in the global personal care industry.

  • Indie Beauty Takes Center Stage

    Indie Beauty Takes Center Stage

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||July 13, 2015
    The first Indie Beauty Expo will take place Aug. 27 in New York City. Happi checked in with the duo behind this new event that’s out to serve this fast-growing sector of the beauty industry.

  • Scoring Big with Women’s Soccer

    Scoring Big with Women’s Soccer

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||July 8, 2015
    Carli Lloyd and crew have star power—but will any beauty firm be smart enough sign these soccer stars? Take our poll now.