Benefit Cosmetics is waxing charitable with its new-to-Canada initiative, the Bold Is Beautiful Project. Throughout the month of May, every dollar from the brand’s brow waxing services—done at its stand-alone Toronto boutique and at Sephora Brow Bars across Canada—will be donated to charity.
Best known for its cheeky, feel-good approach to beauty, Benefit has long wanted to get involved in philanthropy, but the many intricate rules governing charitable programs were daunting at first.
“I went on Amazon and literally bought Charity for Dummies. I was like, I need to know where to start,” quips Annie Ford Danielson, the San Francisco–based brand’s global beauty authority and daughter of co-founder Jean Ford, at the recent Toronto press launch of the Bold Is Beautiful. The program’s lofty goal is “to give as much money away as we can,” says Danielson.
While the project is global, each participating country is free to choose its own local charity partners, as long as they are focused on empowering women and girls through education and mentorship; access to wellness; or economic self-sufficiency.
In Canada, the funds will support Habitat for Humanity Canada’s Women Build program, as well as Beauty Gives Back (the charitable arm of the Canadian Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association, which runs free Look Good Feel Better workshops for women undergoing cancer treatment).
Bold Is Beautiful launched as a pilot project last year in four test markets: the US, UK, France and Australia. “We just wanted to get the kinks out and make sure it worked. What was really cool was that we blew our goal out of the water: we had a goal of $2 million, and we raised and donated [US] $2.9 million,” says Danielson. She attributes that success to enthusiastic store teams, which took the idea and ran with it—setting their own, even more ambitious targets.
For 2016, nine markets (Canada, Ireland, Spain, the UAE and Singapore are joining last year’s participants) will fundraise for 20 charity partners, with the goal of donating US $4 million worldwide. Within Canada specifically, the target is $100,000.
If the Bold Is Beautiful Project grows according to plan, the goal is to add five to eight participating countries each year. And there are no corporate bean counters anxious to put a cap on the dollars being donated: “We have such incredible leadership at Benefit,” says Danielson, “the sky is the limit.”