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Beauty with a Twist

By: Karen Newman
Posted: November 7, 2006, from the November 2006 issue of GCI Magazine.
Beth Ann Catalano and Tina Hedges

Beth Ann Catalano and Tina Hedges

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Catalano learned what it takes to please the customer in a beauty capacity, and believes that that education branded a love of the business in her heart. The role of the beauty advisor, she said, is the most important part of the equation when it comes to the customer. “The beauty advisors tell us, the brand, what the consumer wants and needs.”

She was a regional sales manager for Lancôme in the 1980s when there was a commitment to making Lancôme as big as Estée Lauder. She was told that the only way that would happen was if Lancôme knew everything about the people who were selling its products, made great hires, built its bench strength and engaged in team-building. By 2000, she was vice president of sales at Unilever, where she led the introduction of the Vera Wang fragrance. From there, she went on to lead the Guerlain division at LVMH.

“As the industry changed, merged and consolidated, Beth Ann and I have crossed paths off and on over the last decade,” said Graham Hankin, who currently is education brand manager with Sephora. “Most recently, I’ve known (her) since her involvement with Jonathan Product. We have worked together on this brand from the outset to ensure its launch at Sephora was effective and buttoned-up.”

“Beth Ann is one of the smartest people I know, and always brings humor, insight and humanity to everything she does. We may not always agree on everything and we may even agree to disagree occasionally. And that’s okay. I have the utmost respect for Beth Ann, and know that her heart is in the right place,” said Hankin. “One of my favorite things about Beth Ann is her sense of humor and willingness to ‘go there’ when we are having fun. She keeps me on my toes, and always is ready for more.”

Camille McDonald, executive vice president, merchandising and brand development at Bath & Body Works, knew Catalano during her years at Guerlain. She remembers Catalano’s sense of entrepreneurship, her creative problem-solving and her skills as a leader. “She was extremely focused on a goal -- a trait that’s hard to find in an executive, McDonald said.