FEMME CHAT: With Benefit’s Guardian of Brand DNA
My femme chat with Benefit’s Guardian of Brand DNA Annie Ford Danielson about the Bold is Beautiful Project and her career journey.
I recently visited San Francisco and was spellbound by the abundance of young, entrepreneurial women building companies, driving innovation and living the start-up dream. So much new and old business heritage for some of the world’s biggest companies and I loved the sense of business spirit there and I just wanted to be part of it. So you can imagine my excitement to enjoy a sit-down chat with Benefits San Francisco Global Beauty Authority Annie Ford Danielson at the Bold is Beautiful Benefit Breakfast in Sydney this morning held at The Butler, Potts Point.
Annie is the daughter and niece of Benefit Founders Jean and Jane Ford, who pioneered the “feel good” approach to beauty and started the company in 1976. Annie is out here in Australia promoting and driving Benefit’s exciting new campaign, the Bold is Beautiful Project that is all about empowering women through education, self-compassion, laughter and love. As Annie says “Our role with this campaign is to make women and girls all over the world smile“. The initiative is Annie’s passion project and she went on to describe that beauty is not just about resting on the cosmetics and the commercial. Benefit in fact, has a strong history of making women feel beautiful on the inside, not just the outside and they have a responsibility to continue this agenda for women all over the world so they too have the tools to achieve their full potential.
Part of this great initiative is partnering with local charities in Australia like Look Good Feel Better, Fitted for Work and Sister 2 Sister. They have also rolled it out in France, America and the UK with the goal to be in every country in the world. In 2015, this global philanthropic project will hope to raise 2 million dollars worldwide for these local charities so that women’s education and access to mentorship programs, financial independence and wellness initiatives are all accessible.
Sitting down with Annie, I can say she really is an authentic genuine representation of the brand and whilst her family name is known worldwide – this project which was spearheaded by Annie and her sister Maggie has certainly carved out her own mark in the business. In the beginning though, Annie’s career wasn’t handed to her on a silver makeup palette. We spoke about her humble beginnings in the company whereby she started at grassroots level and worked 6 days a week in a boutique sales role which left her with very tired swollen feet! But Annie says it really helped her to understand and connect with the brand at a store level and even now she has worked these learning’s into their global staff inductions.
Annie then moved into product development roles for many years, which is where she really began to understand the science behind the brand and the innate product proposition. Now, her current role which is officially titled “Guardian of Brand DNA” has truly enabled her to share with employees and customers the values, culture and heritage of Benefit. But don’t think she has stopped working hard or proving herself, Annie says she is still waiting to be granted a corner office! With her genuine compassionate outlook on the world and lovely natural laugh, Annie is a solid representation of the brand in all its beautiful ways. At the end of our chat, I couldn’t help but ask what her favourite Benefit product is (but it was like asking a mother to pick a favourite child) so whilst this was almost impossible to answer, she did say that the incredible brow wax and sculpting services of Benefit is really something she just can’t live without. Judging by her perfectly sculpted brows – I certainly believe her!
I love Benefit for its beautiful bright colors and visual appealing brand and collateral. It’s always colourful, pretty and mostly pink. So I opted for a pastel pink ensemble from Kookai Australia. Chic stretch skirt and pastel sleeveless turtleneck crop top and classic Louboutin beige patent stiletto. Had my mums vintage Chanel bag and baby pink and silver Hermes cuff. Purchase outfit here: Kookai Australia