The life story of Estée Lauder

In this article we will share the life story of Estée Lauder and history of the Estée Lauder Companies Inc, a great American brand famous for its natural cosmetics. Enjoy reading the success story about inventions and amazing family business that flourishes up till now.

Earlier years

Estée Lauder (July 01, 1908 – April 04, 2004,) is a businesswoman and founder of the Estée Lauder Companies Inc. Today the Estée Lauder Companies is one of the leading cosmetic companies in the world, which is known in 150 countries and generating revenues of billions of dollars yearly.

Estée Lauder (Josephine Esther Mentzer) was born on July 01, 1908. She was the ninth child and raised in Corona, Queens, New York in the family of Hungarian Jewish immigrants.

Estée’s father, Max Mentzer, a Hungarian Jew, owned a hardware store in Queens. Her mother, Rose Schotz Rosenthal, Czech-Catholic, took care of a huge brood of children. She was a gorgeous woman and little Estée always wanted to be looking like her. Rose was ten years older than her husband; therefore Estée believed that the difference in age could be the best way to save a marriage.

Lauder admitted that in the years of childhood a major influence on her personality was provided by her father. Estée worked in his shop and thereby taught the secrets of selling.

New source of inspiration and first discoveries

In 1914, she spent lots of time with her uncle John Schotz, and those moments changed her life. Estée Lauder told that her uncle was like “a magician and mentor”, he managed to capture her imagination like no one else could ever.

John Schotz was a chemist. He developed four secret formulas for skin creams. Estée was selling the creams to all her friends. She had nice appearance and pure skin, so it helped her to advertise the products. That is how an emigrant girl with an accent was changing into successful business lady.

Family vs. career

In 1930, she married an accountant Joe Lauder. Their first child was born in 1933. Estée earned money by selling creams for skin care and became the founder of the company Lauder Chemists. In 1933, she and her husband advertised their products in the telephone directory.

Estée’s creams had the advantage of excellent quality, but no one knew that they were made at night in the tiny kitchen. One day one of her client’s servant by mistake used skin cream instead of mayonnaise for salad. Estée only laughed and replied: “It will do! My creams consist of only natural ingredients.”

From the beginning, Estée Lauder’s goals were clear and simple: a woman has only ten minutes in the morning and evening – and during that time her skin should become young and radiant. The concept of ‘quick and effective’ was brilliant.

Estée decided to completely focus on her career. In 1939, she divorced Joe, and, taking their son, moved to Miami Beach, where she established an office in one of the expensive hotels ‘Roney Plaza’ on Collins Avenue in Miami Beach.

Climbing the career ladder, Estée used money and influences of outstanding people. So, she learned a lot from Arnold Lewis, the President and Chairman of the International Flavors & Fragrances.

In 1942, her first son got seriously sick and that reunited her with her former husband. On the 7th of December they were re-married. Then Estée and John decided to work together in the company. Estée was responsible for the development and marketing, while Joe worked with finance and manufacturing. Ultimately, they created an empire Estée Lauder Cosmetics.

In 1944, they opened their first store in New York. In that year Estee’s second son, Ronald, was born and that did not distract her from the work.

The Estée Lauder Companies Inc.

The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. was founded in 1946. Lauder’s best idea was to cooperate with famous department stores in the country such as Saks, Blooming Dales and Macy’s, etc. That approach gave the company a high prestige and it convinced customers in high quality of the products.

In the 1950s, Estée Lauder firmly believed in achieving great results by distributing free samples of her cosmetics. At those times it was a kind of novelty. Managers of other cosmetics companies openly laughed at her efforts and thought she could ruin her business. However, women approached to Estée’s stand to get free samples and find out more about her products and buy what they needed, and in addition to receive a gift. Estée called free distribution the only fair way of running business. Rapidly rising incomes gave her an opportunity to open new corners, boutiques, research laboratories and work with professional dermatologists.

By 1965, prosperous lady invested in the business over $14 million United States Dollars. In 1967, Estée Lauder was included to the list of “100 best American entrepreneurs”.

Spreading around the world

In the early 70’s the products of Estée Lauder were sold in more than seventy countries. In 1973, Leonard, the eldest son, took up a position of the President of the company, and her husband became the Chairman, the very same Estée Lauder remained the main owner of the company.

In 1990, one-third of all production of the prestigious cosmetics in the United States was manufactured by The Estée Lauder Companies Inc.

For over 60 years, the Estée Lauder Inc. has created a wide range of brands that has become popular with the crowds in more than 150 countries. Her company employs more than 26 000 people. The important thing to Estée than her Company was her family. She was excited that her children and grandchildren joined the family business. Mrs. Estée Lauder retired in 1995 and passed away on April 24, 2004, at the age of 97.



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