Estee Lauder Companies collaborates with East Harlem students on responsible beauty

By Natasha Spencer

- Last updated on GMT

Estee Lauder Companies collaborates with East Harlem students on responsible beauty
The global beauty name has a long-standing commitment to learning more from focus groups such as the Young Women’s Leadership Schools Network (YWLN) in a bid to support market research and product development.

A network of all-girls public schools, The Young Women’s Leadership Schools (TYWLS), strives to help young females with learning and leadership skills. The Estée Lauder Companies (ELC) shares its values with TYWLS as it aims to nurture young females throughout the global community.

ELC and YWLS’s programme saw 85 12th students at TYWLS of East Harlem take part in an activity known as ‘Project Beauty: The Beauty of Responsibility’, a yearly creative task where participants develop a cause-related campaign for a hypothetical beauty brand.

Mo Knows Hair, an Aveda Ambassador and the influencer behind Monica Stevens, along with Andrea Flynn, Vice President of the M·A·C AIDS Fund, completed presentations on the importance of sustainability and responsibility in beauty.

Beauty with a cause

Following these discussions, students teamed up to devise their campaigns, before presenting their concepts to a panel of judges.  

Awarded with a certificate, the winning team launched an imaginary beauty brand that produces face masks targeting acne scars. The brand message revolved around beauty from within, positive feelings about skin care, and self-acceptance.

The winning team also connected the product to the National Domestic Violence hotline cause to help raise awareness about domestic violence. It included the cause's phone number on the team’s accompanying advertisements to increase the profile of the charity.

Their winning creation emphasised the idea of physical and mental scarring to unite the nature of its product and the responsible beauty philosophy that inspired its creation. A related hashtag #freeyourscars was used to harness their brand’s message.

Inspirational dedication

Noting her participation in several Project Beauty workshops, Andrea Flynn ELC executive, shared: “Our company’s partnership with The Young Women’s Leadership Network is an outstanding example of the impact that we can have when we work together to support girls education.”

“As a first-generation college graduate, it has meant a great deal to me to work for a company that places such a strong emphasis on supporting girls’ education and women’s leadership. The Project Beauty participants are a true inspiration, their passion for learning and leading is remarkable – these girls have the power to change the world!"

YWLN is also comprised of a CollegeBound Initiative (CBI), a co-ed college access programme. ELC has committed to working with schools in alignment with the company’s corporate citizenship and sustainability initiatives, which support the initiative’s mission to help empower females and provide an ideal college-preparatory education.

"Our volunteer work at TYWLS is an important element of our citizenship efforts and our Company's values to give back to the community and contribute to future generations,”​ shared Phebe Farrow Port, SVP, Global Management Strategies, and Chief of Staff to the President and CEO, The Estée Lauder Companies.

Mission, vision and values

“TYWLS is a noble mission we are proud to support. Our relationship is a great example of 360-degree empowerment. Our volunteers receive even more than they give when spending time with these amazing young women," ​continued Farrow Port.

The partnership with the YWLN acts as a key market research tool to help the global beauty name focus its R&D and product launch efforts.

ELC consists of an internal board with six employee volunteers who ideate, design and execute engaging programmes. In 2017, ELC held seven TYWLS events that reached 500 students to support its initiative and to harness the valuable information provided by focus groups.

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