NEW YORK -- The Estee Lauder Cos. is out to prove that cosmetics is about more than looking good.
Lauder, one of several beauty companies raising money for breast cancer research, has created special merchandise not only to generate funds but to spread awareness of the disease.
For the first time, two Lauder divisions -- Estee Lauder USA and Clinique -- will donate the profits from special makeup items to breast cancer research. Previously, the divisions distributed pink ribbons, which symbolize the battle against breast cancer, and asked customers for contributions to the cause.
The other two women's cosmetics division of Lauder -- Prescriptives and Origins -- will focus on disseminating information on the disease this October, which is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Each division will give away pink ribbons.
The effort is being spearheaded by Evelyn H. Lauder, the firm's senior corporate vice president, who raised $18 million to build and endow the Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
The money raised this year for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, which Lauder founded, will benefit eight cancer centers across the country.
"Now that the endowment is completed, instead of focusing on one institution, we are focusing on many institutions across the U.S.," Lauder said. "Women are being treated in a very inconsistent pattern. We're trying to raise the standard."
Lauder said she expects to top last year's campaign, which raised $200,000.
The Lauder division, which began the corporate effort in 1992 by distributing 1.5 million pink ribbons, will offer Pink Ribbon All-Day Lipstick and Powder Blush.
Robin Burns, president and chief executive officer of Estée Lauder USA, noted that with 10,000 beauty advisers, the division's contribution can be two-fold. "We can raise money. We can educate women," she said.
Some retailers, such as Filene's, will donate their entire profit from the items to the foundation, Lauder said. Others will give a portion of the proceeds.
While the Lauder products will be available at every account, Clinique's merchandise program will be exclusive to Federated Department Stores, according to Dan Brestle, president of Clinique.All net proceeds from the sale of Long Last Lipstick in Berry Kiss and a green lipstick case will go to the foundation. Brestle said he hopes to sell about 50,000 units of the item, which will retail for $7.50 instead of the regular price of $12.50.
Origins will hold "well-being seminars" at nine of its stores. Doctors from local breast cancer centers will give talks, answer questions and encourage women to sign up for mammography screenings, according to Mark O'Berski, executive director of retail stores at Origins. Last year, the division held seminars in six of its freestanding shops.
In the week following the events, O'Berski said the stores will donate 10 percent of their sales to local breast cancer facilities.
At its department and specialty store locations, Origins will focus on information, handing out cards on detection and treatment of breast cancer.
Prescriptives is also going the information route. The division is stocking its counters with almost 100,000 cards listing toll-free numbers for the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, Y-Me National Breast Cancer Organization, Look Good Feel Better and the Plastic Surgery Information Service.
In addition, the International division is starting programs in 14 markets in Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
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