A subsidiary of LVMH, Benefit Cosmetics LLC was founded by twin sisters Jean and Jane Ford in 1976 and headquartered in San Francisco. The beauty brand has always pushed the envelope with its instant beauty solutions, creative feel-good storytelling and unique packaging.
“Laughter is the best cosmetic. We’re not only in the makeup business…we’re in the feel-good business. When we are laughing and having fun, that’s when we are at our most beautiful.”
Alumnus of Indiana University, twin sisters Jean and Jane Ford moved to San Francisco to pursue a bright future. Interestingly, their profession was chosen based on a coin flip, with the options being a casserole cafe or a beauty boutique — the only things they knew!
Founded in 1976 as a beauty boutique named The Face Place in San Francisco which specialized in quick-fix beauty products, their debut product was blush and lip tint, “Rose Tint”, now renamed “Benetint”. The Fords had created the rose tint for an exotic dancer who required a nipple tint back in the day and it remains the company’s best-selling product with over ten million bottles sold. The Face Place later moved to Kearny Street in downtown San Francisco during the Eighties and the twins debuted lip-plumping product, lip plump. In 1989, a product catalog was developed and the Fords focused on department store distribution. The following year, they renamed the brand Benefit Cosmetics. In 1991, Benefit opened in a department store in New York City. With runaway success in the U.S., the brand expanded overseas in 1997 with Harrods, London. Shortly, Benefit Cosmetics website was launched.
LVMH acquired Benefit Cosmetics on September 14, 1999. In 2001, Benefit launched bath and boudoir line, Bathina. The brand opened its first “Brow Bar” — a boutique specialising in brow shaping — in 2003, at Macy’s Union Square, San Francisco. In 2008, Jean’s daughters Maggie and Annie joined the company, and focused on developing the home shopping network and opening stores worldwide. Their efforts didn’t go unrecognised. On April 21, 2012, Benefit Cosmetics won Guinness World Record for accomplishing the most eyebrow waxes performed in eight hours by a team — three hundred and eighty two eyebrow waxes! The brand continued its upward trajectory. Benefit Cosmetic’s “Hoola Matte Bronzer” was named the best beauty product by Nylon in 2014, the most sold bronzer in Britain by Vogue and best-selling bronzer in the United States. That year, Benefit’s “They’re Real” mascara received Reader’s Choice Award of Best Mascara in department stores by Allure.
In 2019, Benefit Cosmetics named former Netflix executive Christie Fleischer as CEO. While most cosmetic brands enter every category from lips and eyes to skincare and wellness, Benefit narrowed its focus on brows, mascara and cheeks though it offers a limited selection of products outside its core categories. Today, its success can be attributed to the effectiveness of its products and its extensive retail distribution of multi-brand retailers; department stores; airport vending machines; and its own physical and e-stores.
I worked with Condenast India as Digital Editor and launched Vogue India’s portal. Four years later, I turned entrepreneur and launched my luxury portal www.explosivefashion.in. Perhaps it’s my vision and exclusive content that’s placed Explosive Fashion at the forefront of luxury: reporting from fashion weeks, collaborating with luxury brands, presenting royal families’ vision, championing talent, reviewing hotels and restaurants, writing on travel, heritage. My editorial is of a storyteller, the story of the person behind the brand.