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CEW: Forging New Bonds

The organization has been busily partnering with trend forecasters, think tanks, number crunchers and media outlets to help accomplish its lofty goals.

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Over the last several years, Cosmetic Executive Women has come to a realization: To expand the organization’s reach, bring innovation to consumers and provide members with proprietary intelligence, as they say, “It takes a illage.” And so CEW has been busily partnering with trend forecasters, think tanks, number crunchers and media outlets to help accomplish these lofty goals.

This story first appeared in the June 27, 2014 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

CEW partnerships are not pay-for-play-based. In fact, no shekels change hands. Rather, the not-for-profit organization creates barterlike arrangements, often giving its partners access to its 6,000-plus members in exchange for exclusive studies, for example. “These relationships are in-kind exchanges of services or expertise,” explained Lisa Klein, CEW’s senior vice president, who heads up the organization’s development team.

Klein points to CEW’s relationship with The NPD Group as a key way to dish proprietary information to its members. For the past two years, CEW has partnered with this Port Washington, N.Y.-based market research firm for its Hot off the Press event, which presents a first look at year-end sales results and trend interpretations. In return, NPD discloses this elite info at a CEW Beauty Insider event. These expositions are in such demand that this year, for the first time, NPD showcased this data for West Coast CEW members in Los Angeles.

“These presentations are the only way many of our members have access to NPD data, since NPD does not typically reveal this information to non-paying clients,” Klein said.

CEW’s affiliation with The Future Laboratory was masterminded to provide even more targeted information to members. The U.K.-based trend forecaster conducted a proprietary marketing study for CEW on “the flat agers,” the over-50 market that refuses to admit its age and stop working, according to The Future Laboratory. It is viewed as one the most important beauty demographics both in numbers and buying power.

The Future Laboratory presented its findings at a CEW event called Future Focus: Game Changing Insights on Trends & Talent, held at New York’s Union Club on May 1, which also featured a double bill. In addition to The Future Laboratory, another CEW partner — the Boston-based global management consulting firm The Boston Consulting Group — held court. BCG presented the results of its beauty industry-driven study on the talent, skills and technology the industry will most need to successfully navigate the future.

But sometimes, it is “all about the money.” So CEW has joined forces with 24 Seven, the New York-based talent acquisition firm, producing the second annual Beauty Industry Job Market and Salary Survey, which details job market and hiring trends based on the feedback of leading industry professionals and talent in the community.

Still, an organization cannot live by information alone, and so CEW has developed strategic partnerships designed to spread the CEW word and broaden its membership base.

To help romance some of the more elusive beauty companies, this year CEW has joined forces with Cosmoprof North America, with the specific goal of catching the eye of smaller, spa, salon and indie brands. Courting rituals will include hosting a CEW cocktail party, conducting a Beauty Insider Panel and manning a booth at the July trade show in Las Vegas. For its part, CEW will promote Cosmoprof on its CEW Beauty Insider Web page.

Klein cites CEW’s relationship with QVC as another way to increase awareness and membership. Since 2009, the at-home shopping channel — 100 million viewers strong — has been one of the event’s sponsors and has aired the CEW Beauty Insiders’ Choice Awards Show that showcases and sells a selection of prestige award winners.

The show, airing this year on July 10, also features the Beauty Quest Award, which goes to one indie brand selected by QVC buyers from the CEW Beauty Awards demonstration. This year’s winner was Dr. Macrene Skin Results 37 Actives. Klein said the Beauty Quest Award has directly impacted its membership base, noting that since the accolade’s inception, CEW has seen a 41 percent increase in indie entries for its Beauty Awards.

Claudia Lucas, QVC’s director of beauty merchandising, noted that CEW and QVC share the goal of raising the visibility of the beauty industry to consumers and that their marriage has been a successful one. She said, “We have found that products that receive a CEW award offer the QVC beauty consumer an extra level of trust when deciding her beauty needs.”

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