The First 50 Years were the Easiest: How to Survive as a Family Business

The business called Bonne Bell began in 1927 with the establishment by Jesse G. Bell of a cosmetic company in Cleveland for the purpose of manufacturing and marketing cosmetic products. He had previously been a salesman for a wide variety of products, finally with a cosmetic company in Kansas City. The company had a general line of products, primarily creams and lotions, until the company purchased a formula and rights to 10-0-6 lotion from a Cleveland chemist. It quickly became the company’s leading product and expanded the company’s potential market and retail outlets enormously, The success of this product led the company into a wider range of skin care products for all ages, but particularly for the youth market.

The big crisis in the company’s development came during the late 1960’s when great inducements were made to merge the Bonne Bell company into very large conglomerate enterprises. After firmly facing and rejecting this alternative, Bonne Bell, Chairman of the Board, and Jess Bell, President and Chief Executive Officer, have directed the company toward balanced national and international growth. The third generation of Bells is John Eckert, Managing Director of Bonne Bell, Canada, and son of Bonne Bell and William J. Eckert, Vice President– International for the company.

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