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
  • Testing for Sustainable Preservatives

    Adam P. Byrne, William Michael Hart-Cooper, Kaj Johnson, Larry H. Stanker, Dominic W. S. Wong, William J. Orts||January 4, 2016
    A rapid, inexpensive and qualitative protocol for determining microbial growth inhibition.

  • Burgeoning Beauty

    Burgeoning Beauty

    Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor||January 4, 2016
    A look at trailblazers for 2016 and beyond.

  • In-Cosmetics Paris Has Sights on US

    In-Cosmetics Paris Has Sights on US

    Imogen Matthews , In-Cosmetics||December 2, 2015
    Market focus is on the USA.

  • 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.

  • Lux in Flux

    Lux in Flux

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||July 6, 2015
    FIT graduates detail the changes impacting the global cosmetics industry.

  • Are You for Real?

    Are You for Real?

    June 22, 2015
    Counterfeit cosmetics and pseudo scents permeate the internet; here's how brands can protect themselves.

  • London Calling

    London Calling

    June 15, 2015
    Fueled by growing customer demand for healthy cosmetics, Lily Lolo is expanding its products and reach.

  • Teen’s Non-Toxic Dream Gets Real

    Teen’s Non-Toxic Dream Gets Real

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||June 8, 2015
    Rhode Island teen Ava Anderson serves as CEO of a fast-growing direct sales company that’s playing in multiple household and personal care categories.

  • A Reason to Smile?

    A Reason to Smile?

    Jeremy Kerstetter, Assistant Editor||June 1, 2015
    IRI study uncovers consumer optimism...even among Millennials.

  • The Right Choice

    The Right Choice

    Nancy Jeffries, Contributing Editor||May 28, 2015
    The CEW Insiders's Choice Beauty Awards

  • Thousands Flock to NYSCC Suppliers

    Thousands Flock to NYSCC Suppliers' Day

    May 18, 2015
    Once again, the cosmetic world meets in Edison, NJ.

  • Future Focus on Long-Term Beauty

    Future Focus on Long-Term Beauty

    Nancy Jeffries, Contributing Editor||May 7, 2015
    Cosmetic Executive Women provide an update on global trends.

  • Which Way, M&A?

    Which Way, M&A?

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||March 23, 2015
    Personal care is an attractive end-market for chemical companies due to an above GDP growth rate and higher margins.

  • Packs A Punch

    Packs A Punch

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||December 15, 2014
    Osmosis Pur Medical Skincare “spices” up the CC cream category with a new launch.

  • Have Consumers Had Enough of Promotions?

    Have Consumers Had Enough of Promotions?

    Emily Mayer, IRI||November 10, 2014
    FMCG promotions. Personal care. New Products. innovations.

  • Sothys

    Sothys' Sweet Spot

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||October 20, 2014
    Spa brand Sothys USA has expanded its presence at the Spa at Hershey, and added a new color line too that offers efficacious ingredients.

  • Cosmopack Comes to New York

    Cosmopack Comes to New York

    Jamie Matusow, Editor||October 19, 2014
    Symposium focuses on the quality and capabilities of Made in Italy and Made in Europe packaging, formulation and machinery su

  • A Look Ahead to MakeUp in New York

    A Look Ahead to MakeUp in New York

    September 8, 2014
    MakeUp in New York opens in two weeks, so Beauty Packaging’s editor, Jamie Matusow, caught up with Jean-Yves Bourgeois, co-manager of the event.

  • All Aboard for Beauty!

    All Aboard for Beauty!

    Nancy Jeffries, Online Editor||August 18, 2014
    Editors cruise along the Hudson River while they peruse the latest ideas in beauty and personal care.