Estee Lauder: How Novelty Led to the Success of this Cosmetics Queen


Estée Lauder (Josephine Esther Mentzer) is a businesswoman who founded Estée Lauder Companies Inc. She was born on July 01, 1908 and grew up in Queens, New York to a family of Hungarian Jewish immigrants. Today, Estée Lauder Companies is one of the world’s biggest cosmetics company, and it generates billions in revenue every year.


Early Work Experience

Estée spent a lot of time with her uncle, John Schotz, in 1914. Her uncle was a chemist and made four skin creams using his own secret formulas. Estée sold the creams to every one of her friends – she was able to convince others to buy the creams because her skin and appearance were nice.


Career and Family

She then got married to Joe Lauder, an accountant and had her first son in 1933. She made a living then by selling skin care creams, which led to her forming her first company: Lauder Chemists. Even though she made her creams in a small kitchen at night, they were very high-quality, giving her an edge in business. Her first store was opened in 1944 in New York with her husband. She also had another son that very same year called Ronald.


A Novel Approach and Success

In 1946, she found Estée Lauder Companies Inc. Her intention for the company was to collaborate with popular department stores like Macy’s, Bloomingdales, Saks and others. She knew that doing would make her products more credible in the eyes of consumers, convincing them they are of the highest of quality.

Despite being mocked by managers from other cosmetic businesses in the 1950s, Estée Lauder strongly believed that she would get more customers by giving away free samples. The novel approach to selling she cosmetics made more women flock to her business instead of others. With the rise in revenue, she was able to expand by collaborating with experts in dermatology and open new development laboratories, boutiques and corners.

Estée Lauder became a very prosperous lady by 1965 and invested over $14 million in her cosmetics business. She even made it on a list titled “100 best American entrepreneurs” in 1967.

People from over 70 countries were buying Estée Lauder’s cosmetics in their local markets during the early 70’s. Her first son, Leonard, became the company’s president in 1973, with Estée remaining as CEO and her husband serving as the Chairman.

By 1991, The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. was the manufacturing a third of all the high-quality cosmetics in the USA.


Estée Lauder’s Legacy

This company has produced a number of popular brands that have been sold in over 150 countries for the more than 60 years. Estée’s company has hired over 26,000 people from all over the world. One thing that Estée Lauder cherished more than anything else, even her company, was family. Since her children and their children worked for her company, keeping the family business going, Estée was an extremely happy person. She completely resigned in 1995 before she died at the age of 97 on April 24, 2004.


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