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How Beauty Brand Benefit Creates New Power Categories

Benefit CEO Christie Fleischer likes the unexpected.

How Beauty Brand Benefit Creates New Power Categories

Christie Fleischer

When Benefit launched skin care in 2023, it was a surprise for the brand as well as the industry.

“It was a bold, unexpected move for us, but what you might find even more unexpected is we didn’t start out with the thought process of, let’s try to get into skin care,” said Christie Fleischer, chief executive officer of Benefit Cosmetics since 2019, during a fireside chat at WWD’s LAB with Beauty Inc editor in chief Jenny B. Fine.

“We really started out with, let’s find another power category like we did with brows’” she continued. “What might be surprising to some is that before the Benefit Brow Collection was launched, brows as a category was ‘other eye.’ It wasn’t even a category and Benefit decided, let’s launch products all at once in brows.”

The brand, which is owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, eventually landed on skin care, specifically pores, by searching for a category that it would have credibility in, as well as something that met the consumer need, was globally relevant and spoke to all people. The products are an expansion of the Porefessional franchise, a cult-favorite primer and Benefit hero that minimizes pore appearance.

“Our Porefessional Primer was a top-selling primer for more than 10 years so we had equity. Pores was a top skin concern,” said Fleischer, who oversaw merchandising and theme parks at Disney and was also at Netflix before joining Benefit. “We felt we could own a lane.”

It launched in February 2023 with seven products: a cleanser, a toning foam, a cleansing oil, two masks, a moisturizer and a face wand. The products went through almost 300 different formulas and took roughly four years to perfect. Recently, it launched three new products to add to the collection — a primer, a setting spray and a new essence.

“Its going incredibly well. We have a hero product in our Porefessional Deep Retreat Mask — it’s number six in the U.S. right  now,” said Fleischer. “This is a journey that we will stay on just as we did in brows.”

All this fits in with the 50-year-old brand’s philosophy of doing the unexpected.

“The brand has been a trailblazer brand from the beginning. All the decisions were made in a unique way from what would be the norm. Internally, we actually still say, we zig when they zag, so we very purposefully think of this as a trailblazing brand,” added Fleischer.

Tags

  • beauty
  • Benefit
  • LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton
  • skincare

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