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VENTURA COUNTY BUSINESS

Putting a New Face on the Next Century of Selling Cosmetics

April 13, 1999|LEO SMITH | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A simple J and F may tell the past, present and future of Jafra Cosmetics Intl. of Westlake Village.

The two letters, featured in the new logo of the 43-year-old direct-sales company, pay tribute to corporate founders Jay and Frank Day. And the stylized application of those initials is intended to give a glimpse of forward-thinking plans for the new century.

"We're looking to not only recognize Jafra's heritage, but also the direct-sales environment of the world today," said Joan Cassidy, senior manager of new market development for the multimillion-dollar company.

The logo, which includes the Jafra name and a linked J and F, has been unveiled over the last few months to many of Jafra Cosmetics' 255,000 independent distributors worldwide. It will be introduced publicly this week.

Cassidy said the artistic linking of the company's profitable past with its future is intended to acknowledge Jafra's longtime values, as well as its intention to adapt to changes in the marketplace.

"We are moving forward in what direct sales is all about--it's a very personal and social environment," Cassidy said. "At a time when technology seems to be everywhere, you still have to reach out and touch others. The focus of our efforts is really to make direct selling a viable way to do business."

Jafra Cosmetics has about 55,000 distributors in the United States and 150,000 in Mexico. The remainder are dispersed throughout South America and Europe.

The company, which has annual sales of about $200 million, was sold by its founders to the Gillette Co. in 1976. Last year, Gillette sold the operation to the investment firm of Clayton, Dubilier & Rice.

Along with the symbolic logo change, Jafra Cosmetics is also unveiling a new compensation plan for its sales force. The plan offers better incentives and higher commissions to satisfy its female distributorship, Cassidy said.

"Women's lives have changed--in the '70s when they were doing this they were doing it to be social," she said. "Now, women really need to earn money. Many of them are the sole breadwinners in the family. They are trying to seek a balance, they want success and they need financial security."

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