Estee Lauder and the Business of Cosmetics

On this day, July 1 in the year 1908, one of the wealthiest self-made women who have taught millions of other women the honorable pursuit of beauty was born in New York, United States. His name was Josephine Esther Mentzer, the co-founder of the Estee Lauder cosmetics empire.

Estee Lauder
Estee Lauder (Credit: Facebook Page)

Josephine or Estee was the wife of Joseph Lauder. She was born to Jewish Hungarian immigrants who owned a hardware store in New York City. She finished high school at Newtown High School. Although she did not go to college, she learned the science of concocting and the art of selling cosmetic products while working at New Way Laboratories which was owned by her uncle, Dr. John Schotz, a trained chemist from Europe.

In 1935, Estee and her husband set up Estee Lauder Company to make and sell products to women in their pursuit of everlasting beauty. She was a tireless salesperson. She promoted her products everywhere – department stores, salons, and most especially to her celebrity friends including the Princess of Monaco, Grace Kelly. She loved to give her products away as gifts and she was always on the look-out for creative advertising.

In 1953, Estee introduced her first fragrance which she baptized as “Youth-Dew”. It was an instant bestseller. In 1985, she published her autobiography and a TV documentary was released with the title, Estée Lauder: The Sweet Smell of Success.

Estee Lauder Company was valued at $5 billion when it successfully went public in 1995. Estee was named founding chairwoman. The company’s products are sold in more than 130 countries employing over 20,000 people.

In 2004, Estee Lauder died at her home in New York. She left two children with her husband, Joseph whom she married twice after they had separated in their first marriage.

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