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Benefit, Tweezerman in Strategic Partnership

Tweezerman producing four-item line of beauty tools for Benefit.

Tweezerman International LLC has teamed with Benefit Cosmetics LLC to produce a four-item line called Tweezerman for Benefit, which comprises tweezers, an eyelash curler and a brow brush, due to be launched in May.

The initiative is meant to complement the expansion of Benefit’s Brow Bar concept, executives noted, which is essentially a Benefit counter that — in addition to showcasing the brand’s assortment of beauty products — offers no-appointment waxing, tweezing and lash services ranging in price from $10 to $27.

The cobranded product line includes two pairs of tweezers with a Tweezerman for Benefit logo on them: a Slant Tweezer ($25) and a Pointed Slant Tweezer ($30). There’s also the Brow Shaping Brush, which is priced at $12, and the ProCurl Curler, which comes with three replacement pads and is priced at $20.

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The Tweezerman for Benefit items are slated to reach the more than 200 Brow Bars that Benefit operates in the U.S., at retailers like Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and selected Belk and Ulta stores — and the 334 or so Brow Bars the brand has in 21 other countries.

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The revenue sharing agreement calls for Tweezerman to produce the items for Benefit, which, in turn, will carry them primarily at the Brow Bars, noted Jean-Andre Rougeot, Benefit’s chief executive officer.

“You have two experts getting together to provide a better service to the customer,” Rougeot said of the Tweezerman-Benefit union. He noted Tweezerman approached Benefit, which proclaims itself the “brow authority.” “The two [brands] linked together make a lot of sense.”

“We are forming a strategic partnership [and] from the brand side it’s the perfect fit of two brands that go very well together,” said Cornelia Wittke, president and ceo of the beauty tools producer. The move stands to bolster Tweezerman’s “premium specialty store distribution,” according to Wittke, and “strengthen distribution in Asia, where Benefit is strong.”

Benefit, which is about 90 percent owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, does about $500 million in retail sales worldwide, according to industry sources, of which about 73 percent is generated by international sales. Twin sisters Jean and Jane Ford, who cofounded Benefit in 1976, maintain a minority holding.

Benefit has 30 of its own stores worldwide and 15 of those are in the U.K. There are 12 Benefit stores in the U.S. and the firm plans to open four more boutiques in the U.S. this year. Benefit products are carried at about 800 stores in the U.S.; in addition to Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Belk, and Ulta, Sephora — which is also owned by LVMH — is “the other big retailer for Benefit,” said Rougeot, who noted Russia and China have been growth markets for the brand.

Tweezerman was founded in 1980 by Dal LaMagna and then sold in 2004 to Solingen, Germany-based Zwilling J.A. Henckels AG, which wholly owns the firm. Tweezerman products are carried in some 20,000 mass, prestige, specialty store and independent boutique locations in the U.S., and industry sources estimate sales of Tweezerman at $100 million at retail globally.

Sources estimate the Tweezerman for Benefit tools could combine to generate $10 million in first-year retail sales volume worldwide and perhaps $20 million during the second or third year.

That’s because of Benefit’s plans to continue expanding the Brow Bar concept. One hundred more Brow Bars are slated to be opened in the U.S. alone this year, at the retail chains that already house the concept, and Benefit projects it will have 700 Brow Bars up and running worldwide by yearend.

The first Benefit Brow Bar opened at Macy’s in San Francisco’s Union Square in 2003. Since then, what was a “side activity” for Benefit several years ago, according to Rougeot, “has become a key pillar for us worldwide. A big initiative in the past two to three years has been Brow Bars.”

Rougeot added that Benefit’s more than 500 aestheticians and cosmetologists on staff do “hundreds of brows a day [and] need the right tools.” Additionally, Rougeot said, “customers ask, ‘Where can I buy the tweezer you’re using on my brow?’ Now we can say, ‘You can buy it here.’”