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Focus on … Estée Lauder

The Estée Lauder brand is always associated with the highest quality in their products, innovation, passion, class, distinction, timeless elegance  – all the things that were embodied by Estée Lauder, the wonderful woman that created the brand. Let’s see her story :   

Born for Beauty  

The niece of a Hungarian chemist, Estée was trained
in the art of face creams at an early age. 

Josephine Esther Mentzer was born in New York City.
Her parents, Rose Schotz, a Hungarian beauty, and Max Mentzer, a
Czechoslovakian businessman who carried a cane and gloves on Sunday, called her
Esty, which was changed to Estée when she enrolled in school.

The name stuck,
but one early detail was never officially pinned down: her birth date. “You ask
my age? I tell you it simply doesn’t matter
,” she’d famously say to dodge the
question. “Glow,” after all—not a number—was the real essence of beauty, she
believed.

  “The first beauty I ever recognized was my mother,”
said Estée. Some of her earliest memories were of her mother’s grooming ritual,
which revolved around applying rich creams to her face and hands to keep her
skin soft and smooth. “Hands [are] as telling as any written pedigree,” Rose
would tell her impressionable daughter.

Estée toyed with becoming an actress, as she
believed that “actresses were the epitome of beauty.” She even appeared on
stage at New York’s Cherry Lane Theater a few years after she had her first
son, Leonard, who would sit in the back of the theater and watch as she
rehearsed. But in the end, acting didn’t satisfy her the way whipping up
skincare solutions did. “I wanted to see my name in lights, but I was willing
to settle for my name on a jar
.”

  
While her father owned a hardware store where Estée
would arrange window displays, she was more interested in taking after her
uncle John Schotz, a chemist. He had taught her to cleanse her skin with oils
rather than harsh soaps, and to mix up batches of his unique, all-around skin
cream. “It was a preciously velvety cream, this potion, one that magically made
you sweetly scented, made your face feel like spun silk, made any passing
imperfections be gone by evening,” Estée recalled, and she soon dubbed it the
Super-Rich All Purpose Creme. It was her first glimpse at something that
provided “the power to create beauty.” 

The
Start of Something Beautiful

Success
depends on daring to act on dreams
,” according to Estée, who turned a homespun
cream into a global cosmetics empire. Estée built her company with
the perfect mix of know-how, dedication, persistence, passion, family
commitment–and a lot of free samples.

In 1946 Estée officially launched her namesake line with four hardworking
products—The Cleansing Oil, The Creme Pack, her uncle’s Super-Rich All Purpose
Creme, and The Skin Lotion. She was her own publicist, often showing up to
beauty parlors around New York City to perform makeovers while women sat under
the hairdryers. Applying a grassroots marketing approach—“telephone, telegraph,
tell-a-woman,” as she’d explain it—Estée expanded her customer base to other
salons and hotels around the city.

After Estée’s “millionth” request, Robert Fisk, the cosmetics buyer at Saks
Fifth Avenue, finally agreed to place his first order of her product—$800
worth,  to be exact—in 1946.
To announce her arrival at the upscale department store, Estée sent out
elegant white cards with gold lettering to inform the store’s
preferred-customer list that she would be offering a free cream-based powder
with every purchase. Within two days, the entire stock was sold out—and the
industry’s “gift with purchase” marketing concept was born.

 “I never knew I was a ‘nose,’” Estée would say humbly, but in 1953 she
discovered a blend of rose, jasmine, vetiver and patchouli that would bring her
olfactory fame. She called it Youth-Dew. It wasn’t a perfume, but a bath oil
that doubled as a fragrance—just the type of thing a woman could buy for
herself without “giving tiresome hints to her husband,” and could wear without
waiting for a special occasion.

It took the industry by storm, as did the advertisement, which depicted the
risqué, though tastefully blurred, profile of a nude woman. Estée would later
sell Youth-Dew by the gallon to fans like Gloria Swanson, Dolores Del Rio, and
Joan Crawford, who claimed the intoxicating aroma helped her snare her fourth
husband.

Convinced that European women were as “face-conscious” as they were “fashion-conscious,”
Estée launched her brand at Harrods in London in 1960, after years of charming
its buyer. Next came Galeries Lafayette in Paris, where Estée famously spilled
Youth-Dew on the floor, prompting customers to ask about the intoxicating
aroma, and securing her a spot at the counters. “They later said I did it on
purpose. I’ll never tell
,” she mused.

The brand would expand into the rapidly emerging markets of Moscow in 1981,
and Shanghai in 1993. Today, Estée Lauder is sold in over 150 countries across
the globe.

As her empire grew to include makeup, Estée realized that the success of her
lipsticks often came down to their names. “Honest, lucid, graphic
descriptions—that’s what I was after
,” she’d explain. Early hits included
Duchess Crimson, a clear, strong red; All Day Rose, a soft pink that was ideal
for working women; and Dancing Red, a “go-out-in-the-evening” shade. Each
bullet was packaged in a golden metal case, a feminine design that became an
instant icon of elegance and sophistication.   
  
In 1956, Estée launched her most luxurious cream yet, Re-Nutriv. At $115 per
jar—equivalent to approximately $1,000 in today’s money—it was pricey, but she
was quick to reason that is was worth every penny. “Why do you spend so much
for a Picasso? The linen under his painting costs $2.75, each jar of paint he
used was perhaps $1.75. Why, then, do you pay a small fortune for a small
picture? You’re paying for creativity…for experience…and something that works
for you
.” 
 
Estée believed “3 minutes is all beauty should ever take.” She created quick
routines for makeup and skincare, which she eagerly demonstrated on women—at every
store where an Estée Lauder counter opened, while riding on a train or an
elevator, or simply walking down the street. She loved nothing more than
transforming a woman’s look with her personal touch, and doling out bits of
advice along the way. 
  
The little brown bottle with big results – one of Estée’s most enduring legacies came in the form of a “little brown bottle”. In 1982 she launched Night Repair Cellular Recovery Complex,
the first scientifically based serum to repair skin’s appearance during
the night. Now incorporating the latest innovations and with 25+
patents worldwide, Advanced Night Repair Syncronized Recovery Complex II helps promote the natural syncronization of skin’s nighttime repair process to help skin look younger.

Estée
Lauder began expanding internationally in 1960 and is now sold in over 150
countries across the globe.
 
In May 2004, Estée passed away at the age of 97 leaving behind a family and
a company that would carry on her legacy, not to mention countless friends and
admirers who took inspiration from her passion and hard work.  “She turned ‘No
you can’t, into ‘Yes I will
,” the legendary journalist and TV personality
Barbara Walters remarked at her memorial service. An aspiring actress,
Estée Lauder wanted to see her name in lights. She made sure it is forever
emblazoned on an everlasting monument to beauty.       source: esteelauder.com  

 If you want to read about Estée Lauder products you can read here and here.   Until next time, 

 

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