"I have never worked a day in my life without selling. If I believe in something, I sell it, and I sell it hard." ~ Estee Lauder
Every biography of an outstanding personality is a life lesson. Estee Lauder, the self-made entrepreneur and the founder of the cosmetic empire, built her company solely on her childhood dream: to be beautiful. According to her own words, she "was caught up with American glamor and dreamed of being a skin specialist and making women beautiful."
She was born on July 01, 1908 in Corona, Queens, New York. She was the ninth child in a family of Hungarian Jewish immigrants. At the time of her birth, Estee's father owned a hardware store, and the family lived in a store.
Her uncle John was the chemist who had established his own laboratory in 1924. He became her first mentor in understanding and cherishing woman's skin. He taught Estee not to use soap and water, but to use oils to clean and moisten her skin. His work was his passion, and Estee became his eager student. She helped her uncle in his work, experimented with his creams and tested them on the faces of her family members and classmates.
At the age of nineteen, Estee met Joe Lauter, the son of Hungarian immigrants. Joe had studied accounting and worked for various businesses. Joe and Estee married on January 15, 1930, and their first son Leonard Allan was born in 1933. By 1937, the couple had changed their name from Lauter to Lauder.
The role of a mother and housewife was not enough for Estee. She had a feeling she was meant for more. She decided to become an actress, and started taking acting course at New York Cherry Lane Theater. Her acting career was short. Soon, Estee realized that she would never be able to make it to the top. Her social ambitions frighted Joe Lauder, who was more solid, patient and serene by character. Their family problems grew, and the couple divorced in 1939.
In 1943, Estee Lauder returned to her first and only love Joe Lauder. She said with sadness about the four years of their separation: "You cannot fly on one wing".
Joe Lauder joined Estee's business, and the first office of Estee Lauder Inc. opened at 39 East Sixtieth Street in 1945. During the 40's Estee began introducing her products to the stores as Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy's, Bonwit Teller. During the 40's Estee Lauder spent much time traveling to department stores, standing behind the cosmetic counters, introducing her products and giving free facials, training salespeople.
She was the one who started giving gifts with a purchase of her products, the technique which is now used by all cosmetic companies.
One of the most significant business achievements at that time was an introduction of Youth Dew. It was became an overnight success. Soon after, Youth Dew represented 80% of Estee Lauder business.
Other incredibly successful perfume products followed the same path. One of the big challenges for Estee Lauder was launching Clinique. This cosmetic line was created for the younger women. The products were marketed for the therapeutic skin care, and no references to Estee Lauder was made. In the first two years of Clinique, the losses totaled 3 million dollars. In spite of the losses, Estee refused to give up. She appointed Carol Phillips, the former editor of Vogue to run the division of Clinique. Since then, the product line never stopped growing.
Joe Lauder died in 1983, and Estee Lauder died on the 24th of April 2004 in New York. Estee Lauder products are one of the most recognized brands in more than 120 countries.
Estee Lauder secret of success
Estee Lauder brand became successful also through the efforts of Estee to promote her products among her friends and acquaintances, which included royalties, presidents and celebrities. Commenting on her success, she admitted:
"I have never worked a day in my life without selling. If I believe in something, I sell it, and I sell it hard."
The career of Estee Lauder is a remarkable demonstration of a entrepreneurial spirit.
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