Today, we celebrate the life of Estee Lauder who died on Saturday at home in Manhattan, at the age of 97. Her name was synonymous with the world's finest cosmetics and beauty products.
Thanks to Mrs. Lauder, twenty thousand men and women are currently employed by the company she founded as a business that originally sold face creams she called "jars of hope."
Millions of women, and now men, from more than 130 countries enjoy the products Lauder created, including skin care, makeup, fragrance and hair care products.
In 1998, Time Magazine lauded Lauder as one of the century's twenty most influential geniuses of business. She was also the only woman.
In 2003, Fortune magazine ranked her company #349 in the Fortune 500 list of America's largest companies. Last year, the company reported sales of $5.12 billion primarily through department stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale's, Marshall Field, Neiman-Marcus, Harrods in London and Galeries Lafayette in Paris.
Today, her empire, The Estee Lauder Companies Inc., which she founded in 1946 in New York City with her late husband, Joseph Lauder includes: Estee Lauder, Clinique, Aramis, Prescriptives, Origins, MAC, Bobbi Brown, Tommy Hilfiger, La Mer, Donna Karan, Aveda, Stila, Jo Malone, Bumble and bumble, kate spade beauty, Darphin, Michael Kors and Rodan & Fields.
Estee Lauder History
Mrs. Lauder was widely acclaimed both within and outside her field. She was awarded both France's Legion of Honor and the Gold Medal of the City of Paris. She was one of the American Business Women's Association's 10 Outstanding Women in Business in the United States in 1967. Cosmetic Executive Women presented her with its Lifetime Achievement Award in 1989, and The American Society of Perfumers awarded her its first Living Legend award in 1994.
Estee Lauder's first success came thanks to an order from Saks which sold out in two days.
Her first products included a bath oil called Youth Dew, Super Rich All Purpose Creme, Creme Pack and an assortment of makeups.
Aramis, a line of prestige fragrance and grooming products for men, was launched in 1964. In 1968, Lauder introduced a men's line and the first dermatologist-guided, allergy-tested fragrance free cosmetics, known as Clinique.
Prescriptives was founded in 1979. Origins Natural Resources was introduced in 1990. In the 1990s the Company acquired MAC and Bobbi Brown. In 1997, the Company acquired Sassaby, Inc., owner of the Aveda Corporation. In 1999, the Company acquired Stila Cosmetics, Inc., a Los Angeles-based prestige cosmetics company, and Jo Malone, the London-based marketer of prestige skin care and fragrance products. In 2000, the Company acquired a majority equity interest in New York-based Bumble and bumble LLC, a premier hair salon, and Bumble and bumble Products LLC, a developer, marketer and distributor of quality hair care products. In 2003 it acquired Darphin, a Paris-based prestige skin care company. The Estee Lauder Companies is also the global licensee for fragrances and cosmetics for the Tommy Hilfiger, Donna Karan New York, DKNY and Kate Spade brands.
The Estee Lauder Companies Inc. went public in November 1995. It was also the year that Mrs. Lauder retired from the Company. Until her death, she served as the Founding Chairman of the Company, an honorary position that will not be filled.
In November 1998, the Company began to sell products online. In the Spring of 1999, a new division, ELC Online, became responsible for all Internet strategies. In the Spring of 2000, the Company acquired gloss.com. In August 2000, Chanel and Clarins became partners with the Company in gloss.com.
Gloss.com re-launched in 2001, featuring brands of all three companies.
Lauder's ambition, determination and relentless imagination were legendary.
She was a pioneer of guerilla marketing.
When prominent advertising agencies turned down her business, she chose to spend $50,000 to send her products directly to consumers, including social elite and princesses, through the mail. As a result, she attracted thousands of customers.
When you go into a department store and receive free samples of products with your purchase, you can thank Estee Lauder for pioneering this clever marketing approach. She once said, "I never dreamed about success. I worked for it."
In her memoir, she wrote "Time is not on your side, but I am!"
Along with her legacy, Lauder leaves behind two sons, Leonard Lauder, chairman of Estee Lauder Inc., and Ronald Lauder, chairman of Clinique Laboratories, daughters-in-law, Evelyn H. Lauder and Jo Carole Lauder, as well as four grandchildren, Aerin, Gary, Jane and William, and six great-grandchildren.
"My mother was passionate about three things: her family, the wonderful Company she founded and her mission of bringing beauty into the lives of women everywhere," said Leonard A. Lauder, Chairman of The Estee Lauder Companies. "She was an inspiration to the women she touched through her products and appearances through the years, to the many employees of The Estee Lauder Companies, and, above all, to her family, through her constant love and support. We will miss her immensely."
"My mother was not only a rare businesswoman, but also an extraordinary wife, mother and grandmother," said Ronald S. Lauder, Chairman of Clinique Laboratories, Inc. "She brought joy, unique vision and determination to all things. Her spirit lives on in all of us."
Speaking for the Company, President and Chief Executive Fred H. Langhammer said, "I had the privilege to know and work with Mrs. Lauder and witnessed, first-hand, how she was able to bring out the best in both her employees and her customers. I learned a great deal from her. To honor her legacy, we will maintain the standards of beauty and prestige she set, which remain the hallmarks of The Estee Lauder Companies."
Today and this Mother's Day, we will celebrate The Original Estee Lauder Woman for all that she is, all that she was, and all that she represents to fellow pioneers in their field.
Thank you Estee Lauder for your passion and dedication.
Inspire & Be Inspired.
P.S. To send expressions of gratitude to her family, write:
Estee Lauder Companies
767 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10153