Estée Lauder Dream Team Talks Innovation

1 CEW LauderThe Estée Lauder Companies’ Karyn Khoury, Jennifer
Balbier, Thia Breen and Anne Carullo.

Cosmetic Executive Women (CEW) hosted a Women and Men in Beauty Series event entitled “The Estée Lauder Companies’ Dream Team: Beauty Product Innovators,” on April 18 at the Harmonie Club.

The evening’s Dream Team comprised Karyn Khoury, senior vice president, corporate fragrance development worldwide, The Estée Lauder Companies; Anne Carullo, senior vice president, global product development, Estée Lauder and Tom Ford Beauty; and Jennifer Balbier, senior vice president, global product development, artistry brands, The Estée Lauder Companies.

Khoury, Carullo, and Balbier are forces of nature with regard to innovation in fragrance, skin care, and makeup products, respectively. And as trends and consumer preferences are constantly changing, it’s no wonder innovation was the night’s hot topic.

A beauty product is innovative when it is able to sustain the waves of change and adapt to what consumers want. Khoury explained, “The evolution of fragrance includes modern positioning, disruptive communication and vibrant storytelling.”

Consumers are an essential component of developing innovative beauty products. Within the last few years, there has been an uptick in the inclusion of consumers’ points of view in the creation process. “Our first customer [for MAC] is a makeup artist. You have to know who your consumer is,” Balbier said.

Carullo expanded on consumer influence in terms of product development: “Our consumer’s voice is so important to us because they are incredibly engaged. We want to be inspired by them.” Although Khoury agreed with Carullo about making consumers a part of the creative process, she emphasized balancing that information with executive intuition. “The biggest successes often come from a leap of faith,” she said.

Furthermore, Carullo has found that freeing her mind and testing new protocols helps with product development. “In stripping products of their packaging identities, we have been able to find out what consumers are really responding to.”

While brainstorming, Khoury said it is key to listen to her instincts. “My management team trusts my judgment. Part of good innovation is not being restricted by fear of failure. You reach greater heights of creativity that way.” Additionally, Khoury explained that she travels as frequently as possible to see how consumers are using products around the globe—which gives her better insight into what they want, as opposed to getting that information from a report behind her desk.


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Carl Haney and Jane Hertzmark Hudis of
The Estée Lauder Companies.
The Estée Lauder Companies’ Caroline Geerlings with Cos Policastro of Givaudan. The Estée Lauder Companies’ Carol Russo and Karyn Khoury (r.) with Jerry Vittoria of Firmenich.
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Geri Schachner of The Estée Lauder Companies with Elizabeth Arden’s Laurie Dowley. The Estée Lauder Companies’ Charisse Ford with Rick DiCecca of Artistry. MAC’s Isabelle Bauer Rovner with Marco Russo of Chromavis.
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Carol Russo and Diane Kim (r.) of The Estée Lauder Companies with IFF’s Lorenzo Cavallaro and Veronique Ferval. MAC’s Nicholas Gavrelis with Rhona Stokols of Symrise. Linda Levy with Firmenich’s Theo Spilka and Karyn Khoury of The Estée Lauder Companies.
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Cosmetic World’s George Ledes and Lord & Taylor’s Barbara Zinn Moore with Mail Online’s Blair Tapper and Matt Kaplan. Taylor Ryan, Marine Ravera and Diane Crecca of Arcade with Susan Tendler of The Estée Lauder Companies. Karyn Khoury of The Estée Lauder Companies (2nd l.) with Firmenich’s Frank Voelkl, Harry Fremont and Richard Herpin.
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Givaudan’s Karen Elliott and Cathy Torelli with Mary Zegras of Elle Decor. Cosmetic World’s George Ledes with Calice Becker of Givaudan. Rhona Stokols and Beatrice Mouleyre (2nd r.) of Symrise with Susan Tendler and Sarra Dadoul of The Estée Lauder Companies.
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SGD’s Michel Levisse, Sheherazade Chamlou, Eduardo Nau and Colleen McLoughlin. Pierre Wulff of Robertet with The Estée Lauder Companies’ Carol Russo and Laurie Dowley of Elizabeth Arden. KVD NYC’s Kim-Van Dang with The Estée Lauder Companies’ Anne Carullo and Karyn Khoury.
see more photos in CW May 13, 2013 issue    

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