Wednesday, November 02, 2011

The Business of Beauty

Panel on Business of Beauty - GCs from Revlon, Avon, Arden, & Coty

A group of prominent in-house lawyers from the country’s leading cosmetic companies got together last night at the NYC Bar Association, 42 West 44th Street to discuss the “Business of Beauty.” They presented some of the challenging legal issues unique to the beauty industry, and also talked about their respective career paths and what you don't read about in Vogue. Charles Colman (Charles Colman Law, PLLC) moderated the discussion. The panel was made up of Eric Breitman (Coty, Inc.), Anca Cornis-Pop (Avon Products, Inc.), Bret Parker (Elizabeth Arden, Inc.) and Erica J. Swartz (Revlon).

The committee’s chair, Monica Richman, started off the discussion saying that as lawyer working in the beauty industry, “You can get really cool stuff.” That got the ball rolling as the first topic discussed was the glamour associated with the industry.  Part of Eric Breitman’s responsibilities at Coty includes working with celebrities who represent the company’s brands. Anca Cornis-Pop mentioned that she gets to work with Avon’s marketing team with “...ladies dressed to the nines everyday.”

The topic quickly changed to trademarks, which Charles Colman referred to as, “Possibly the core of fashion law.” The panelists all agreed that social media has become a big part of their business. Not only are companies advertising on the web, but they’re also creating apps, running promotions and using Facebook and Twitter to get the consumer actively involved with the story of the brand.

“We encounter endless amounts of cyber squatters,” remarked Swartz. The panelists combat this by monitoring domain names and sending cease and desist letters.

At first no one wanted to answer the question, “How can people get your jobs?” They eventually all agreed that networking was key, although not the only route. Cornis-Pop said that Avon hires a lot of people from its web site. Cornis-Pop herself found her job that way.

The final question asked what the advantages of being an in-house attorney at a beauty company were. “A great culture and environment,” said Bret Parker. “There’s something nice about seeing your product on shelves and in the pages of magazines.” Parker also added that he liked that people could relate to what he did, because they were familiar with the company’s products.

 The committee’s next panel discussion will be on fashion law. For more information contact: Allan Ripp 212-262-7477 arippnyc@aol.com or John Garger 212-262-7484 jgargernyc@aol.com .

-Eila Mell

About Eila Mell. She is the author of 'New York Fashion Week: The Designers, the Models, the Fashions of the Bryant Park Era'. She has spent many years writing about fashion, theater, and film and interviewing some of the biggest names in the fashion and entertainment industries. She has been tapped for her expertise by nearly a hundred media outlets, including The New York Times, The Insider, Hollywood 411, Dailies , and The Mark & Brian Show. Eila lives in New York.

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