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Industry Insiders: Benefit’s Marketing and PR Whiz

Name: Alison Haljun

Title: Vice President, Retail Marketing & PR for Benefit Cosmetics

What was your first job?

My first job was as a receptionist at an entertainment law firm in Beverly Hills. I was the girl answering the phones and the phone number was, no joke, 777-7777. Little kids playing with the phone would call me all the time and I’d have to say to them, “Honey, can you put your mom on the phone?” Just goes to show you that you can start anywhere.

How did you get to where you are now?

My second job was working at an entertainment agency, and my boyfriend at the time—he’s now my husband—said to me, “I’ve never met someone so obsessed with makeup.” I thought, “Yeah, you’re right, but do they even make those kind of jobs?” But he put the notion in my head. From there, I decided to send my resume to makeup companies that were based in California. I had been a Benefit customer—I still remember buying my first Benetint at the Beverly Center—so I sent my resume blindly and I didn’t hear from anybody. But I kept calling and emailing. I somehow got through to talk to a woman in Benefit’s HR who explained that they weren’t hiring, but they would let me know if a job became available. The very next day, she called to say that there was a position open, and the rest is history.

What’s one of your favorite things about working at Benefit?

Bingo! It’s such a fun atmosphere. For example, we have this thing called Benefit Beauty Bingo. All the staffers have pink bingo cards, and a new number is sent out each day along with a joke or a funny image. When someone gets five numbers in a row, they win a prize. Then in phase two, everyone competes to fill up their whole card. Whoever gets there first also wins a prize, and then we start the whole thing over again with new cards.

Best part of your job?

The makeup. Benefit is known for its instant beauty solutions. I especially love that each product has its own personality and story. We really get to explore the fun and laughter of each product and bring its personality to life.

Favorite part of your office?

Looking at the view! When you get off the elevator and step into our office, you’re immersed in a pink penthouse lobby. It’s just so bright and cheerful, and there are these big beautiful windows with a view of the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s like a Benefit beauty heaven that’s all about girl fun.

What is always in your desk drawer?

I am still obsessed with Benetint, and I still wear it every day. It looks great on everyone and works on its own or layered under other makeup. My other favorite is They’re Real! mascara—it’s changed my life. I am not blessed with gorgeous full lashes, and this mascara helps me kick it up a notch.

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