ANYONE who is a fan of cosmetics is sure to know about – and most probably be fond of – Benefit.
Since the seventies back in San Francisco they have developed a range of make-up and beauty essentials which have revolutionised the way we look at our skin.
One of the most popular products are some of the Fake It series in which a gorgeous little compact includes all the essential products to create certain looks – and they even enclose step by step guides meaning even those lacking confidence in their make-up application can achieve a beautiful look.
But there's one thing that us Essex residents may not know about Benefit – the UK and European Head Office is actually right on our doorstep in Chelmsford and it looks like it's here to stay.
This leads to Gail Bojarski and Ian Marshall's story who are responsible for bringing Benefit Cosmetics to the masses in the UK, and have lived in Chelmsford for many years.
Thirteen years ago, both having previous backgrounds in the cosmetics industry, the two friends decided there was a real niche in the UK market for new cosmetic brands.
"After a trip to New York we approached Benefit, got a very, very quick response, and one of the two founding sisters Jane arranged to come over the following week," explained Ian.
It was very exciting for Gail and Ian as they were able to have a great deal more influence and input into the Benefit brand than they originally expected.
Gail continued: ""We knew the personality of the brand, it was fun, kitsch, had a great sense of humour but was also a very approachable brand and incredibly easy to use – all of which gave the product a unique selling point – so we wondered how we could put this in front of the consumer so she would also get excited."
And that's where the plan came to make Benefit department store areas 'open cell', like we see now, as opposed to assistants hiding behind counters, which is well known of other brands but perhaps a little daunting.
"We realised the most important part of the strategy was to take away the counters and create play bars, so the customer could go right up to the products and try them out," said Gail. "The more fun the customer has at the counter, the more likely it is that she buys the product."
The business partners never expected quite the success Benefit Cosmetics has been since they brought it over from the States back in 1996 but they're clearly incredibly proud of it and very talented at what they do, and have an enthusiastic team who all seem happy to be there.
They feel loyal towards Chelmsford and do not feel the need to move to a bigger, more expensive and also inconvenient office in London, particularly as they can currently walk to work and the majority of their staff live locally.
And having the head office in Chelmsford means the Benefit play bar in Debenhams is always up to date and looking great – the recent introduction of their brow bar adds even more to their vibrant image.
Benefit is simply a product which all females, no matter the age, will love because it's so easy to use, and that's why Gail and Ian's story is one of success.
This is certainly something us locals should feel proud of.
For more information about Benefit and where your nearest store is go to www.benefitcosmetics.co.uk.
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