Benefit's Big Magic lip gloss.

Benefit Cosmetics founders Jean and Jane Ford are sisters, after all, so when the two decided to develop a lip gloss color to raise money for a charity, choosing the century-old non-profit Big Brothers Big Sisters, a youth mentoring program, was a...

NEW YORK — Benefit Cosmetics founders Jean and Jane Ford are sisters, after all, so when the two decided to develop a lip gloss color to raise money for a charity, choosing the century-old non-profit Big Brothers Big Sisters, a youth mentoring program, was a no-brainer.

“[Both Big Brothers Big Sisters and Benefit] are about enthusiasm, hope and cross-generational happy moments that as a company we bring our customers, and as an organization volunteerism brings,” said Jean Ford. “There is no core difference between us other than that [Benefit] sells makeup.”

Dubbed Big Magic, the pinky-brown shade will be on counter June 1 and will retail for $14. It is a new shade of Benefit’s existing The Gloss line, and 100 percent of the proceeds will go to Big Brothers Big Sisters, according to the Fords. Over the next year, industry sources expect sales of the single shade to bring in up to $100,000. In addition, both sisters plan to volunteer their time to the program; they have also designated sign-up days in June for interested employees to learn more about the organization.

“We wanted to give money, but we also wanted a charity where we could give time,” said Jane Ford.

“I’m excited to find out how many people [become involved], how many hours we contribute to them on a volunteer basis and how many customers become involved,” added Jean Ford. “That, to me, parallels the dollars and cents.”

While the partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters is the company’s first long-term relationship with a major charity, it is not the first time Benefit has been involved in charitable efforts, according to Jean Ford, who said that the company has worked with both the Twin Towers Fund and the American Heart Association in the past, donating money through the sales of products. “But this is our first time choosing a charity methodically for a long-term commitment,” she said.

Benefit has put together a “five-year plan” to stay connected with the charity, and while Jane Ford said she and her sister will look at additional charities to work with in the future, they see Big Brothers Big Sisters as the company’s main commitment. She added that they are looking at similar programs in Europe and Asia to become involved with over the next five years.

This story first appeared in the May 27, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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