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Teaming Up for a Cause

By: Abby Penning
Posted: July 10, 2013, from the July 2013 issue of GCI Magazine.

The beauty industry is no stranger to charitable giving and support. From environmental efforts and disaster relief assistance to charities and organizations that support women pursuing science; to donating to causes that battle various diseases and beyond, nearly all beauty brands and companies pursue some sort of effort to give back. One of the industry’s most recent efforts, however, utilized a “more is better” approach, bringing together 21 prestige beauty brands to help support people who are still working while also battling cancer.

The event, “QVC and CEW Present Beauty with Benefits,” was broadcast by QVC at 9 p.m. on Thursday, April 25, 2013, and was possible through a partnership between CEW, QVC and beauty brands (listed in sidebar) to benefit the CEW Foundation’s Cancer and Careers organization. With celebrity spokesperson Regina King hosting and facilitating the two-hour event—which included testimonials from people who have benefitted from Cancer and Careers and what such efforts mean to the beauty brands’ founders and staff, as well as segments on using beauty products—the brands, CEW and QVC all saw the event as a stellar success, with nearly every product selling out (more than 36,000 units were ordered) and the broadcast ending 10 minutes early.

Obviously with such as successful event, everyone was pleased to assist the Cancer and Careers charity, but why did all these brands come together for this cause? And what kind of work does assembling such an event require? Also, what do brands think of being involved in such efforts, and how do other brands get involved in other similar initiatives in the future?

An Idea Comes to Light

Discussing the inception and development of the Beauty with Benefits event, Carlotta Jacobson, president of CEW, says, “The inspiration really came from Claudia Lucas, director of beauty merchandising at QVC. About a year ago, she came to us with this amazing opportunity—to bring the beauty industry together to showcase great products for a great cause on a great scale. QVC’s charitable mission is to support the success and wellness of women through the power of relationships, which is perfectly aligned with what we do at Cancer and Careers.” And thus the idea was born.

Both Lucas and Jacobson and their respective companies worked to recruit and solidify participating beauty brands, and then worked together to develop the offerings and content for the event. “Both QVC and CEW leveraged their unique relationships and positions in the beauty industry to create a really powerful platform for beauty companies to come together to benefit Cancer and Careers,” explains Jacobson. “QVC’s reach of nearly 100 million homes in the U.S. and the deep relationships they have with their customers offered an incredible opportunity to raise awareness and visibility for Cancer and Careers on a large scale.”

Joining In

For the beauty brands that participated, they were able to reach a large group of consumers as well as ally themselves with the efforts of Cancer and Careers. “Women buy from companies that give back,” Jacobson says. “Corporate responsibility is no longer a ‘nice to do’ but a ‘must do.’ So this was a great opportunity for brands to connect with a national consumer audience while showcasing their charitable commitment.”

Lev Glazman, president of Fresh, appeared on the broadcast event, and said of his brand’s involvement, “I was thrilled to participate in the Beauty with Benefits show, with proceeds benefitting CEW’s Cancer and Careers charity. It was inspiring and gratifying to know we were helping such an important, worthy cause.”

Other brands also got involved for reasons closer to home. “My mother was a doctor, [and she] worked for 15 years with cancer before she died,” said Mally Roncal, creator and president of Mally Beauty and Beauty with Benefits participant. “It means so much to me to have an organization doing such spectacular things. It was truly an amazing, rewarding and emotional experience being a part of something so powerful.”

Reaching Out

With the success of the event, the brands all obviously experienced a wide visibility, and were able to connect with new consumers they may not have reached before. Jacobsen notes, “Consumers were really excited to buy great products while benefitting a cause that truly resonates with them.” And Lucas notes, “The fact that nearly every product sold out, ending the broadcast early, is evidence that our customers rallied around this important cause.”

Of course, with the success of the event, Jacobson notes that CEW and QVC are currently discussing and evaluating plans for future collaborations. “Beauty with Benefits is part of CEW’s and QVC’s ongoing relationship,” Jacobsen says. “Together, both companies share a goal to raise the visibility of the beauty industry’s best to consumers—whether celebrating innovative products, indie brands or philanthropy. This event was a shining example of the success of our collaboration.”

The event truly did help show the power of beauty, and Laura Geller, founder of Laura Geller Beauty, commented, “I was delighted to be a part of the first-ever Beauty with Benefits show. As a member of the CEW board and a longtime QVC vendor, it was terrific to see these two big beauty companies collaborate to create an impactful, one-of-a-kind program that truly gives back to women balancing work and cancer.”