FiFi and CEW Events Tally Up to a Beauty-full Day

Beauty industry attendees at CEW's product demonstration reveled in a sea of more than 550 new products.

Back-to-back judging for industry honors provides an encapsulated view of an innovative and productive year in fragrance, personal care and cosmetics.

By Jamie Matusow, Editor

As the editor of Beauty Packaging magazine, nothing makes for a more perfect day than to spend hour upon hour, judging award nominations upon nominations, surrounding myself with some of the most inspiring fragrance and personal care packages the industry has to offer. However, nothing is without balance. The difficulty arises when I have to scrutinize and rank each item, evaluating it according to strict criteria set forth by the organization bestowing the particular honor.

This was the predicament I found myself in on March 3, as I began my enjoyable afternoon first, at The Fragrance Foundation, to judge the leading packaging contenders for the highly anticipated FiFi Awards and, later, to peruse hundreds of beauty products vying for recognition—and a valuable marketing endorsement—from the industry group Cosmetic Executive Women (CEW).

Carlotta Jacobson, president, CEW (L) with Jamie Matusow, editor, Beauty Packaging.
Poking and prodding the numerous entries displayed on the oversized table at The Fragrance Foundation, I was once again thrilled to be involved in such a creative and innovative industry. Along with the other judges—who ranged from faculty at esteemed New York educational institutions, to designers and architects—I systematically and thoughtfully marked my ballot for the 2009 Best Packaging of the Year awards in four categories: Women’s Prestige, Men’s Prestige, Women’s Popular Appeal and Men’s Popular Appeal. It wasn’t easy, but it certainly was inspiring.

I can’t divulge anything now, but this year’s awards promise to elicit as much excitement as the products themselves. Stay tuned to Beauty Packaging for details as they unfold. The first FiFi announcements will be made at the FiFi Finalists Breakfast on April 23 at The Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Manhattan. Rochelle Bloom, president of The Fragrance Foundation, will once again host the early morning event (more info at

The HBA Global Expo team attended the CEW event (L-R): Nicole Bullock, marketing coordinator; Jamie Matusow (editor, Beauty Packaging) Rebecca Fraimow, education program specialist; Jill Birkett, brand director, beauty & wellness; Ellen Evers, senior account executive; Felicia Bonavita-Isoldi, marketing manager; Annie Scully, PR consultant for HBA Global Expo Events.

CEW Breaks Records

Meanwhile, the kick-off to the CEW Beauty Awards, which was held at the Metropolitan Pavilion and Altman Building in Manhattan, was the organization’s eagerly awaited product demonstration, a fun-filled evening when CEW members can test and sample the best in beauty first-hand. This year, at the 16th annual event, more than 550 new products from nearly 300 brands were entered among 31 categories, from fragrance to lipgloss. Sometimes referred to as “the world’s largest cosmetics counter,” energetic, enthusiastic brand reps tout their products’ merits, offering samples and beauty advice to throngs of potential judges. It’s the chance the members get to experience the products up close and personal before casting their votes.

The experience tends to be a statement on chic fashion apparel and stunning floral arrangements almost as much as a product exhibition, with members and reps sporting knockout attire and counters displaying breathtakingly beautiful, color-coordinated flowers.

Annie Scully, Jay Gorga, publisher of Beauty Packaging, Jamie Matusow, and Eve Pearl of Makeup Experience Studio & Boutique.
Even the multitudinous blotters handed out in the fragrance area exhibited creativity, with scents embedded on everything from printed ribbons to sustainable card stock to die-cuts that exactly mimicked the shapely flacons.

From Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Oil Gel to Kate Somerville’s self-tanning towelettes to Shiseido’s capsule-shaped eye serum package to Acqua di Parma’s first women’s fragrance in five years: The presentations were mind-bogglingly beautiful, efficacious and impressive.

According to Carlotta Jacobson, president of CEW, more than 2,000 members were at the event, gearing up for the final judging. “It’s a huge attendance,” said Jacobson. “Companies are really enthusiastic—that’s a good sign.”

I eagerly await the outcome of the judging. Winners will be announced at the annual Beauty Awards Luncheon on May 21st at the Waldorf-Astoria in Manhattan (more info:

It promises to all add up to quite a beauty-full Spring!

Acqua di Parma’s first women’s fragrance in five years is in the running.

Marc Jacobs Lola bloomed on one of the CEW counters.