Cornell University Johnson at Cornell University

Alumni Profiles

Kimberly Marth Bohner, MBA '99:
The Business of beauty

Kimberly Bohner

In college, Kimberly Bohner fell in love with the elegant art photographs of masters like Henri Cartier-Bresson and Irving Penn, fascinated by their ability to tell a story through a striking, well-made image. Today, as executive director of Makeup Marketing for Chanel's U.S. operations, Bohner is still fascinated with beauty and form, but the artists she thinks about most often are the millions of women who begin their day in front of mirror with a powder brush and eyeliner pencil.

Developed in Paris, Chanel makeup is made to reflect the ethos of comfortable, modern luxury first set forth by the company's founder Coco Chanel and represented by the brand's well-known interlocked double C logo. In addition to its perennially offered products for a woman's face, eyes, lips, and nails, Chanel releases a new color collection every season. This spring's collection, for example, highlights shades of "blues, soft pinks, and opalescent whites" and offers an exclusive grouping of powder eye shadows in the shape of the camellia, Mademoiselle Chanel's favorite flower.

Bohner's office often suggests ways to tailor products to its American audience; last year, for example, the company marketed an "all-in-one" makeup palette, targeted to the active, working woman who has little room to spare in her travel suitcase. Above all, Bohner says, her responsibility is to ensure all customers are getting a "luxury experience" every time they purchase a Chanel makeup product.

"We're held up to a very high standard," she says. "It's easy to say you're in the luxury business, but it's harder to actually deliver."

Working at Chanel has been a dream job, Bohner says. She likes it that her position allows her to use both the creative and analytical sides of her brain, and that there are over eighty years of Chanel history to draw upon for creative inspiration. Three or four times a year, she travels to Paris for business, and always finds plenty of time for a different kind of luxury experience — wandering the streets of what she calls her favorite city outside of New York.

Most recently, Bohner finds herself thankful for a personal reason. In June she gave birth to her son, William Tate.

"I have a good work-life balance here," she says. "I'm lucky to have that in place."

— Mark Rader, MFA '02
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