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After generating nearly a million dollars in two hours last year to help working women and men with cancer, QVC and Cosmetics Executive Women are teaming up again. Their charity initiative, Beauty With Benefits, introduced in 2013, will be expanded this year for an April 17 broadcast. 

“Because of the contributions, we have the benefit of having more people know about us and the ability to increase awareness,” said CEW president Carlotta Jacobson, who anticipates an even bigger donation for CEW’s Cancer and Careers organization this year. “The worst thing is when you hear of someone that could have used our services and they didn’t know about us. The bottom line is to let as many people know we exist and that we have a program that can really help them continue to work.”

The event, held between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m., offers customers their choice of 19 donated prestige beauty products, priced between $20 and $200, from brands like bareMinerals, Clarisonic, Clinique, Fresh and Clarins. Eighty percent of each product’s price will benefit Cancer and Careers, and each customer who makes a purchase on that day will receive a sample-filled red makeup bag designed by makeup artist and cancer survivor Sonia Kashuk. According to QVC, the show has the potential to reach 106 million homes in the U.S. “Our mission wasn’t necessarily to widen our audience, although that’s obviously a benefit,” said Claudia Lucas, director of beauty merchandising at QVC. “Beauty is a key driver of our business.”

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Lucas said that last year’s show, which was expected to earn $400,000 but generated more than double, was the litmus test for the ongoing partnership between QVC and CEW.

“The first 10 minutes were OK, then I don’t even know what happened, the thing just went crazy,” said Lucas, adding that many shoppers were purchasing product online during the show. “They weren’t even waiting for the on-air presentations, they were buying them online immediately. Sometimes the guests were going on air and literally two minutes into the sell, we were sold out. The show finished 10 minutes before schedule.”

Because of the success of the 2013 broadcast, this year there are about 45,000 units for sale, up from 36,000 the year before. During the show, several hosts will run through 17 to 19 products in two hours. Typically 12 products are sold during that time.

“Normally a sell is between six and 10 minutes, and these products’ sell is between two and four minutes, so the idea is we don’t have a huge amount of time to get into that typical sell, so we do have to manage that and put time aside for the content,” said Lucas, adding that survivor stories and other content will be shared during the evening broadcast. “It’s a much faster-paced show.”

In addition, actress Tiffani Thiessen will be the face of the campaign this year.

According to Kate Sweeney, CEW foundation executive director, the money generated from the Beauty With Benefits program has allowed Cancer and Careers to expand, and she hopes to continue that into the future.

“The whole thing allowed us to reach new audiences on so many levels,” said Sweeney. “On the day of the show…we had 10,000 visitors on [the Web site] where normally we have 700.”

Sweeney said that the organization is now working in underserved places like Alaska, Hawaii and Alabama, increasing its résumé review services and launching a Los Angeles conference in 2015.

“It’s establishing us as a thought leader on work and cancer. One of the things we are doing is launching a work and cancer news hub, where we’ll be doing original surveys and compiling all the research and news on work and cancer,” she said. “It’s allowed us to go to the next level, expand our services and reach and really solidify ourselves as an expert in this field. So it’s a game changer for us.”
Added Jacobson: “Beauty With Benefits has had a huge impact, most importantly to have people know we exist.”