Business History Book Prize
Andrea Benoit, Viva M.A.C: AIDS, Fashion, and the Philanthropic Practices of M.A.C Cosmetics (University of Toronto Press, 2019).
Andrea Benoit’s VIVA MAC: AIDS, Fashion, and the Philanthropic Practices of MAC Cosmetics is a path-breaking narrative on the creation and impact of a pioneering Canadian firm. MˑAˑC Cosmetics began in Toronto as Make-up Arts Centre and was founded by Frank Toskan and Frank Angelo. Benoit’s book reveals how the “Franks” created an entirely new business model in the global cosmetics industry, including novel methods of retailing their products. Most crucially, she shows how MˑAˑC Cosmetics seamlessly integrated genuine corporate social responsibility into its business model through tireless support of AIDS charities and activism. Benoit’s analysis is based on extensive archival sources and is firmly situated in relevant secondary literature. Her book is a tremendous work of business, social, and cultural history that will inform the research of current and future Canadian historians.
Matthew Bellamy, Brewed in the North: A History of Labatt’s, Kingston and Montréal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2019.
Matthew Bellamy’s Brewed in the North: A History of Labatt’s is an engaging and revealing study of the formation and development of a quintessentially Canadian company. John Labatt Limited was founded in London, Ontario as a family firm. It was shaped by wider social and economic trends such as Prohibition in the United States, and eventually became one of two dominant firms in the domestic brewing industry. Bellamy uses extensive archival materials to show how the company successfully evolved from being private and family-owned to becoming a publicly-traded firm. He also describes how globalization and consolidation of the global beer business ultimately impacted Labatt’s. Bellamy recounts the firm’s product and marketing successes and failures, strengths and weaknesses of management, and what it meant to work at Labatt’s. His book is a welcome addition to the existing Canadian business history literature and will guide historians who hope to undertake broad studies of other Canadian companies.