Saturday, 2 April 2011

Benefit Global Beauty Authorities Maggie & Annie in Singapore

Earlier today, Benefit organised an intimate lunch for beauty bloggers to meet their Global Beauty Authorities, Maggie and Annie Ford Danielson, earlier today at Washi Lounge in Grand Hyatt Hotel. The daughters of Benefit's co-founder, Jean Ford, were on a jaunt through Asia that had already taken them to Korea and Malaysia. Their next destination following Singapore was Sydney, Australia.

Maggie (the elder of the two) is based in New York while Annie (in dark blue) is based in San Francisco where she does product development. The sisters, who were extremely friendly and warm, also frequently appear on the Home Shopping Network for Benefit. Their love and enthusiasm for Benefit was inculcated from their childhood days with their mother and aunt mixing up new products in their kitchen.

They explained that Benefit continued to be a very consumer-oriented brand, rather than being driven by trends. Benefit's goal was to create effective, user-friendly products that met the beauty needs of women around the world. This very focused approach means that Benefit has a well-edited line of just over 200+ stock keeping units (SKUs), whereas other makeup brands often have over 1000 SKUs. The product names and packaging also reflect the brand's sense of fun and humor. It is striking that Benefit does not spend on expensive advertising campaigns or celebrity spokespersons. Instead, they focus their resources on developing products that their customers want. For example, Benefit customers had been asking for a skincare line for many years and hence, Benefit developed its new b.right! skincare line, which was three years in the making. The skincare products were designed to work well with Benefit's makeup products.

According to Maggie and Annie, Asia is a top market for them and they do take Asian skintones and concerns into consideration when developing their products. While the topselling Benefit product varies by country, the top 10 list of Benefit products is pretty much the same across the various countries, e.g. BADgal mascara, Benefit, Posie Tint, Some Kind-a Gorgeous. In Asia, "That Gal" Brightening Face Primer is their #1 seller while in the US, it is BADgal mascara. In China alone, Benefit has about 100 counters. It has also been very successful in South Korea and Hong Kong but has yet to enter Japan, which is a notoriously difficult and expensive market for beauty brands to break into. Within Southeast Asia, Singapore is surprisingly the largest market for them, ahead of Malaysia and Thailand, despite our smaller population.

As it was their first visit to Singapore, it was also interesting to hear their impressions of Singapore and the things that they were looking forward to trying, such as the fish spa (where tiny fish eat the dead skin off one's legs - Annie's horrified expression was priceless!) and our famous chicken rice.

Really envy how statuesque the lovely sisters are!

Later in the afternoon, Maggie and Annie also did makeup demonstrations in the windows of Tangs Orchard. Using their most popular products like Posie Tint, Benefit, Browzings and PoreFessional etc, they showed how easy and quick it is create fresh, natural looks. Fans of their tints will be pleased to know that Benefit is set to release a new Cha Cha Tint in July.

Here's a short video clip that I shot with my camera. It shows mainly Annie working on the model although at some points in the video, you can hear Maggie speaking as she works on another model in another window. (Apologies for the shakiness as my arms got tired holding up the camera so as not to capture the passing pedestrians.)

A hunky Benefit model handing out flyers.

Afterwards, Mag, Kas and I trooped off to Ion and Wisma Atria for a much needed cold drink and shopping!

Many thanks to Benefit for organising the event!


Anonymous said...

you look like a child beside both of them! :D -h.

Haru said...

I know! I'm only 1.6m tall and I think they are nearly 1.8m (5'9")?

Anonymous said...

Saw the three of you outside Tangs yesterday but was too shy to approach! xP You were so lucky to get invited to have lunch with Annie and Maggie!

Haru said...

Do say hi next time! We're all very friendly people :-)