When it comes to cosmetics, skincare, and beauty, there’s no shortage of brand names or types of products on the market. In fact, the beauty industry has shown immense strength over the decades, surviving and even growing through times of global economic hardship. For many, beauty products have remained an affordable luxury, while for countless others, the world of beauty has enabled – and continues to offer – a simple way to feel good.
Yet even amid the countless beauty brand names currently on the market – with many more emerging every year – a handful of beauty product providers have managed not only to make an industry name, but to keep that name and grow it to extraordinary measures. Estee Lauder is just one of these outstanding beauty brands.
A name that carries significant history, the success of Estee Lauder cosmetics is truly rooted in the founder’s childhood. Josephine Esther Mentzer – a New York native who would later come to be known as Estee Lauder – worked in her family’s hardware store as a child, gaining an initial understanding of entrepreneurship and retail. She eventually went on to help her uncle, a chemist, sell beauty creams that he formulated for his own company, New Way Laboratories. She sold the creams to beauty stores, resorts, and beach clubs, all the while working with her uncle to modify and improve the products for further distribution.
In 1930, at the age of 22, Mentzer married Joseph Lauter – a name that would later become Lauder. For 17 years, Josephine Esther continued to work with concoctions in her kitchen, and eventually purchased a space dedicated to developing products. Finally, in 1947, Josephine Esther and her husband went into business together as Estee Lauder Inc. Just one year later, she was selling her products at prominent department stores, like Saks Fifth Avenue, and distributing her products to famous friends and acquaintances in hopes of getting her brand’s name out.
Today, Estee Lauder is recognised as one of the most enduring names in the beauty industry, currently ranking 340th on the Fortune 500 list and earning more than £4.3 billion a year. The woman behind the brand was also included in Time magazine’s 1998 list of the 20 most influential business geniuses of the century – as the only female. The company has evolved immensely over the years, expanding from skincare products and cosmetics, to include fragrances for both men and women – all sold in more than 140 countries across the globe.