NEW YORK — With an eye on finding a competitive edge, more than 16,000 beauty industry executives assembled at the HBA Health & Beauty America trade show this week.

The event, held at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center here from Sept. 28-30, was attended by movers and shakers in the beauty business ranging from companies such as The Royal Promotion Group to manufacturers including Estée Lauder.

The three-day show was fortified with several extra elements this year, such as Inside Beauty, a one-day conference linking health, well-being and beauty, and Beauty Fusion, an event highlighting the melding of beauty and fashion.

“Our attendance [for the exhibition] more than matched last year,” said Jack Gonzalez, group show director for HBA Health & Beauty America. He added that the educational component exceeded last year’s attendance with more than 2,000 people attending symposia and tutorials. “We also had success with our new events Beauty Fusion and Inside Beauty,” he said.

Inside Beauty will be expanded next year to include an exhibit floor as well as educational programs. “With market growth projected at $9.6 billion in the U.S. alone, growing at an annual rate of 15 percent, the time is ripe for Inside Beauty,” said Laura Connolly, project manager for Inside Beauty.

The combination of events, as well as HBA’s annual awards dinner held on Tuesday evening — honoring the work of Janice Teal of Avon, Paul Sheppard of Procter & Gamble and University of Pennsylvania professor of dermatology James J. Leyden — gave beauty a week to rival fashion week.

Charles Strauss, the former president of Unilever’s Home and Personal Care North America business, served as the keynote speaker and set the pace for the week with his talk titled “Challenges to Building Brands,” something Unilever has successfully worked on for decades. “Unilever is far better known for its brands than its corporate name,” Strauss said. To keep its brands strong, he said Unilever balances the need for local marketing with synergy via global efforts. “Building brands is hard work,” he added.

Those walking the show floor of more than 575 exhibitors were working hard to find items to give them a competitive edge. “I'm here because Jane products are old-fashioned,” said Lisa Yarnell, president of Jane Cosmetics. Her team was looking for new packaging, in particular to reposition the line she purchased earlier from Estée Lauder.

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