From browser to shopper, the Benefit way

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.

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I’ve dropped into Hong Kong en route to Singapore to attend one of the great events on the travel retail calendar, DFS Group’s Masters of Wines & Spirits, which opens tomorrow.

Today I lunched with the dynamic, well make that effervescent, Beatrice Charreire, Global Travel Retail Director for LVMH-owned Benefit Cosmetics, a brand which has enjoyed astounding success globally over the past decade and which is fast becoming a tour de force in travel retail.

Besides being a hugely popular brand, it’s also a fun one. I love its packaging, parlance (“ultra-cute appellations for less than ultra-fancy prices”, as one beauty blogger writes), product display and personalisation. All in another P – pink. It’s the sort of brand that brings a duty free store to life, gives it energy as well as revenue.

Founded by Jean and Jane Ford in 1976, Benefit was acquired by French luxury giant LVMH in 1999. What a tale has been told since. From sales of just US$35 million in 1999, it shot up to US$1 billion in 2014 with plans to ramp that up hugely in coming years. Travel retail will be a prime platform, Beatrice promises, and the potential really is electrifying.

Consider this: that US$35 million company now owns the world’s biggest-selling mascara; it collectively ranks as the world’s 11th-biggest make-up brand (with an impressive number two position in the key South Korean market and number one in the UK). And there’s plenty of fuel left in the growth engine.

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After lunch I popped into the impressive T Galleria by DFS at Haysan Place to view the Benefit Brow Bar – the first in downtown travel retail. It’s chic, trendy and timely for today’s consumer.

In coming weeks we’ll bring you more on this impressive brand development story. And we’ll introduce you to some great characters – Spygal, the Porefessional and others. I promise you it’s a story that you’ll want to pore over, and one that will raise plenty of eyebrows.

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