Meet Benjamin, A Vespa Rider Drifting on Marketing for Makeup at L’Oréal
You may not put men and makeup together as the perfect match, but at L’Oréal, we could prove this wrong! Besides who made such gender specific rules anyway? Let’s meet Benjamin, our Lancôme Product Manager at L’Oréal Italy, who proves that working on the Luxury Division in the biggest beauty company in the world is not just for women! How and why did he find himself working in luxury cometics? Let’s hear about his career journey and the things he loves in life.
Benjamin, tell us a little bit about yourself!
I am 28, half-Italian, half-French. Being born and raised in Italy makes me feel more Italian though (désolé les gars, Forza Azzurri!). I have many different interests that I try to squeeze in my spare time. I love sports, cooking, music and arts — especially photography. I am a voracious TV-Series consumer (Game Of Thrones, Peaky Blinders and Breaking Bad my TOP 3, you pick the order). My favorite book is The Count of Montecristo; my fav Comic Strip? Les Aventures de Tintin. I am the proud owner of a ’78 Piaggio Vespa 125PX.’
Where did your L’Oréal story start?
I started as a Retail Luxury intern (my very first job!) back in May 2013. Six months later, I joined the Retail and Merchandising team as Retail Specialist and Visual Merchandiser. I was involved in cross-brands retail projects and I was in charge of Biotherm and Urban Decay’s merchandising. After almost two years, a radical shift: in July 2015 I joined Lancôme Sales team, as Sellouter Account. Finally, by the end of 2016, I became a “marketer” as Lancôme Make-Up Product Manager — my current position!
A man working on luxury makeup - tell us about it!
To be 100% honest, I never felt it was a big deal. Let’s say it was, and still is, a challenge to prove that you can be a good Makeup Product Manager even when you don’t use mascara or lipsticks. Not being a direct consumer of make-up products adds a lot of curiosity, especially at the beginning. I was eager to discover everything I could about new trends, formulas, cutting edge-launches and to deep-dive the understanding of our market, of our customers. My previous positions at L’Oréal both helped a lot. Being part of the Sales Team granted me a basic knowledge of our product ranges. It also allowed me to get in touch with retailers, the point of sales and customers. And which better feedback than your consumers’ ones? In addition to that, L’Oréal provided me with specific training. Seminars focused on the Make-Up industry, marketing workshops and digital upskilling classes were all valuable milestones in my professional development.
I never thought I would say it one day: working on Make Up is BIG FUN!
Why have you chosen to do Marketing?
Since my educational background is rooted in Economics and Management, I have always been passionate about marketing. Becoming a Product Manager allows me to exploit synergies from my previous experiences and to consolidate my professional development. Being a “marketer” in L’Oréal is both challenging and rewarding. Given the centric role of Marketing within L’Oréal, it allows me to be involved in many processes afferent to other departments: Sales and Trade, Digital and E-Com, Retail Education and Merchandising or Logistics, to name some. This means every day I have to deal with new topics, face new challenges and relate to different teams. Never boring, always diverse!
What do you love most about Marketing?
I find it fascinating how Marketing has changed throughout the years and how it continuously evolves and reinvents itself. It has countless nuances that make the discipline hard to be strictly defined. Today, consumers are the key focus for Marketing. Being both a marketer and consumer, I find it extremely intriguing to see how you can effectively reach the same target of consumers in so many different ways. When a new campaign goes viral, when an advert becomes a YouTube hit, when a sports commercial gives me goosebumps, I go, “What! That’s just brilliant!”
Share with us a funny anecdote about yourself!
I have four names: Gian Andrea, Luigi, Francesco, Benjamin — yes, there was some confusion when I was born! Gian Andrea is my first, “official”, name, but I introduce myself every time as Benjamin. To quote the iconic DJ and Producer Giorgio Moroder: my name is Gian Andrea Benjamin, but everybody calls me Ben.
What would you be in another life?
A Chef. A Photographer. A Politician.
The most inspiring figure to you?
Gianni (Giovanni) Agnelli, L’Avvocato. A true icon. For his elegance, sharpness, leadership, standing, sense of humor. For what he represented for Italy, both as a businessman and, let’s say, an “ambassador”. An icon, an inspiration from the past, but also a man — with flaws and weaknesses. If you haven’t already, I recommend watching his biography, HBO Production.
If you have to describe L’Oréal in 3 words, what would they be?
Challenging. Groundbreaking. Fast.
Any advice for those looking for a career at L’Oréal?
Be open-minded. Embrace changes and challenges. Be creative and put yourself on the line. Exchange and share as much as you can with your peers, with other teams and other divisions.
Be Brave. Be yourself a promoter for change. Challenge the Status Quo. Don’t be afraid of failure: it is just a step towards the achievement of your goals.
Enjoy your time. Have fun! Be enthusiastic and take advantage of all the opportunities you will come across. Most of all, don’t take yourself too seriously :)
A recent update from Benjamin:
“It’s been a while guys, hope that you are all doing great!
Few things have changed during the last months: in fact, I left the wonderful world of marketing as well as Lancôme, to join the Italian Kiehl’s Team as Retail Key Account Manager.
Trying to be consistent with my willingness to always discover something new and to embrace new challenges, almost a year ago I dived into a new opportunity: discover a new amazing Brand within a new function, that encompasses a variegated and multidisciplinary approach. Above all Retail and Sales, both areas where I felt the need to strengthen my competencies and my expertise.
I am in charge of Independents Clients (everything spanning outside the world of Free Standing Stores and Department Stores) and of Kiehl’s expansion through new clients all over Italy.
It’s a very hectic and all-around job, but so far also very rewarding and fun. Unquestionably, it has been the most drastic evolution I had in my career… but who knows what will come next!
Until next time,
Inspired by Benjamin’s story? Learn more about our careers in Marketing here: