Friday, March 20, 2009

You are Even Better Looking than You were Yesterday

Quiz : How can you know that you are in an all-girls' territory?
Ans : When the office mirror is splashed with the words "You are even better looking than you were yesterday!"

This relates to a very interesting company which I have just read about and hence this blog entry.

The Company - Cosmetic Benefit

The year was 1976 when the statuesque twin sisters - Jean and Jane Ford founded The Face Place in San Francisco. The candy store for face drew women in droves, catapulted into cult status and was renamed Cosmetic Benefits in 1990. Its corporate culture exudes girlishness, intimacy and most important of all, fabulous fun.

Creative talent aside, staff are hired on their ability to have fun. Employees have a free rein to decorate their workstation. Jean even has a "wall word" in her office where her employees could doodle their ideas on.

The twins, who are on the brink of 60 but look not a day older than 40, rattle off a list of terrific things they have done in the name of work. Beauty bingo - where an employee can win a pot of cash when Benefits hits its sales targets, surprise birthday parties are the norm and company functions.

Chaos in Creativity with Sporadic Crooning

Much of Benefit's creative processs take place in a spacious conference room know as the "The Brains and Beauty Room". Discussions over the brand's unique product designs and marketing approach are often roundtable, jovial affairs. The twins have been know to burst into song when tossing around ideas.

Secrets of their Success

In this austere time, it is crass to suggest to be paid to have fun. Hence I delved in deeper to see the secrets of Benefits' success. Benefit's cosmetic are definitely more than skin deep, they are known for their ease of use and ability to deliver on their promises.

For your benefit, I have distilled three key learning points which we can all take home from Benefits' success.

Lesson 1: Failure is the Mother of Success
We all celebrate Mother's day. And failure is the mother of success. That's why we should celebrate failure. The quirkiness of Benefits' culture provides the ideal environment for innovations to thrive as mistakes not chastised but celebrated.

Lesson 2: There is a Silver Lining in Every Dark Cloud
Every situation has the opportunity to lead to a product name or creation. For example, Jane was once pulled over for a speeding ticket and ended up naming a lipstick "But Officer." Such is the quick wit and creative flair of the founders.

Lesson 3: Not NO but Now and How
Instead of the word "No", add a "w" behind to make it "now" or change the "n" to "h" and ask "how".

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