Jamie Matusow: How did you first get involved in the Beauty industry?
Benny Calderone: I was first introduced to this exciting industry by a family friend who was a perfumer. My first role was working in the R&D lab and on the packaging line. From there, I was provided an opportunity to take a sales position with their supplier Baralan International. As I think back, one simple unassuming lunch meeting between a perfumer and his bottle supplier provided a springboard that set me on this career path. In the ensuing years, I have been fortunate to work for amazing companies that each provided opportunities increasing in responsibility and stature such as Vitro Glass, Aptar Group, Yonwoo/Pkg Group and now, HCP Packaging, as senior director of sales.
JM: What appeals to you about the industry and why?
BC: I find the Beauty industry to be a fast-paced field where each day presents new opportunities and challenges. Often when I speak with peers outside of this realm, I find they are fascinated by both the creative and social nature of our industry as well as the global prominence of marketers and suppliers.
JM: How did you get involved in CIBS and why?
BC: My first introduction to CIBS was the Christmas Ball 1993. At that time, the event was held in the Grand Ballroom of the New York Hilton Hotel and attended by 1,300-plus industry professionals. I was fascinated and enamored all at the same time and from that point forward, an ardent supporter of networking and harnessing the power of CIBS. To think 23 years later, that I’d begin my tenure as president of this prestigious organization… the thought alone provides me with the same euphoria I felt walking into that ballroom so many years ago.
JM: Why did you want to become president of CIBS?
BC: I believe in this organization and the power of networking, going beyond the scope of email and voice mail. In today’s digital society, we should not underestimate the importance of a face-to-face meeting or a simple handshake. CIBS provides multiple forums for that experience such as our luncheon meetings and event committees. Additionally, there is a proud 70-year history to uphold. Many do not even know that this group was originally formed to help servicemen and women returning from WWII.
JM: What do you hope to accomplish as president of CIBS?
BC: To celebrate the organization’s 70th anniversary, we are embarking on a path of reinvention. Beginning in late 2017, we updated our website and all member systems allowing for enhanced networking, reduced fees and expanded benefits for the members. We have launched a CIBS app and have planned a streamlined event calendar for 2018, complete with new venues, new menus, and entertainment as well as educational speaker programs at our luncheons.
JM: What are the benefits to CIBS’ members—both brands and suppliers?
BC: It’s a great time to be a CIBS member, Jamie. Being a member has helped me immeasurably throughout my career and I am excited to give back. Some benefits as we head into 2018 will include discounted event ticket prices, and access to expanded networking opportunities. Through our trade show partners, members will have the opportunity to submit proposals and participate in panel discussions as speakers. Over the years, CIBS has successfully distributed tens of thousands of dollars in scholarships. For 2018 we will continue our scholarship program with institutions such as Rutgers and FIT, but also expand by launching a ‘Members Only’ scholarship.
JM: Can you tell us about some of the upcoming CIBS events?
BC: In addition to six networking luncheons, we’ll return to the NY Marriot Marquis on Friday May 4, for the celebrated Annual Spring Ladies Day luncheon. On Monday June 18, we will host our annual scholarship golf outing at the prestigious Ballyowen golf course in NJ and—as everyone in our industry knows—summer in New York is incomplete unless you attend the CIBS Central Park Boathouse luncheon scheduled for Thursday, July 12.
JM: What has been the highlight of your years in the Beauty Industry?
BC: I am fortunate to say there have been many highlights like meeting great business leaders and mentors, interacting with trendsetting marketers, traveling the world and, of course, working with amazing customers and colleagues. It’s hard to single out just one, so perhaps we should delay this question for 12 months as I believe my answer will be: ‘President of CIBS has been the highlight.’
JM: What activities do you like to pursue in your spare time?
BC: That’s an easy one—family and home. Having a 12-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son, most weekends are spent coaching soccer, attending Performing Arts Club events and occasionally sneaking in a date night with my wife, if the stars align. When we are home, I love to cook and entertain. I have many recipes and family traditions passed from generation to generation, so to share them with my children is a great joy and honor.