By  on March 8, 2013

Thia Breen became the Bonne Bell buyer for her father’s drugstore when she was but an eighth grader, and the beauty business has been in her blood ever since. An executive who has combined her sharp intelligence with a well-developed appreciation for organization and an innate sense of fun, Breen has risen steadily through the ranks of the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc., accruing many firsts in the process—first female national sales manager for Aramis, first national sales manager for Origins, first to ignite the Lauder brand’s business in China. Today, as group president of North America, she oversees the company’s largest region, which represents more than 40 percent of global sales. Here, Breen talks about soaring skin-care sales, the rise of the multicultural consumer and how the huge global brands she oversees have mastered the art of thinking local.

What’s your assessment of the North American beauty market?
We are thrilled to be part of very robust prestige beauty growth. For the second year, prestige has outpaced mass. We’ve seen a bit of a slowdown from last year, but still strong growth in terms of prestige.

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