Estée Lauder (businesswoman)
Estée Lauder with a customer (1966)
|Born||Josephine Esther Mentzer
July 1, 1906
Corona, Queens, New York
|Died||April 24, 2004
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Occupation||Co-founder of Estée Lauder Companies|
Rose Schotz Rosenthal
Estée Lauder (/ /; July 1, 1906 – April 24, 2004) was an American businesswoman. She was the co-founder, along with her husband, Joseph Lauder, of Estée Lauder Companies, her eponymous cosmetics company. Lauder was the only woman on Time magazine's 1998 list of the 20 most influential business geniuses of the 20th century. She was the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She was inducted to the Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame in 1988.
Lauder was born Josephine Esther Mentzer in Corona, Queens in 1906,[Note 1] the second child born to Rose Schotz Rosenthal and Max Mentzer. Her mother was French Catholic on her maternal side and Hungarian Jewish on her father's side. Rose emigrated from Hungary to the United States in 1898 with her five children to join her then husband, Abraham Rosenthal. But, in 1905, she married Max Mentzer, a shopkeeper of Hungarian Jewish descent who had also immigrated to the United States in the 1890s. When their daughter was born, they wanted to name her Esty, after her mother's favorite Hungarian aunt. Then the time came for the clerk to write out the birth certificate, and her mother chose Esther instead because Esty seemed so unusual that no one would know how to spell it. So, Esty became her parents' nickname for her, which sounded like Estée when her father pronounced it in his Hungarian accent. Eventually she attended Newtown High School in Elmhurst, New York. But much of her childhood was spent trying to make ends meet. Like most of her eight siblings, she helped out at the family's hardware store, where she got her first taste of business, of entrepreneurship and what it takes to be a successful retailer. Her girlhood dream was to become an actress with her “name in lights, flowers and handsome men."
When Estée grew older she agreed to help her uncle, Dr John Schotz (a chemist), with his business. His company, New Way Laboratories, sold beauty products such as creams, lotions, rouge, and fragrances. She became more interested in his business than her father's. She was fascinated watching her uncle create his products. He also taught her how to wash her face and do facial massages. After graduating from Newtown High School, she focused on her uncle's business. She named one of his blends Super Rich All-Purpose Cream and began selling his products to her friends.:115 She sold creams like Six-In-One Cold Cream and Dr Schotz's Viennese Cream to beauty shops, beach clubs and resorts. One day, as she was getting her hair done at the House of Ash Blondes, Florence Morris, the salon owner, asked Lauder about her perfect skin. Soon, she returned to the beauty parlor to hand out out four of her uncle's creams and demonstrate their use. Morris was so impressed she asked Lauder to sell her products at her new salon.:116
The Estée Lauder company was created in 1935.
In 1948, Lauder persuaded some New York City department store bosses to give her counter space at Saks Fifth Avenue. Once there, she developed a personal sales approach that proved as potent as the promise of her skin regimens and perfumes. Even after 40 years in business, Estée Lauder would attend every launch of a new cosmetics counter or shop. She would give her famous friends and acquaintances small samples of her products for their handbags; she wanted her brand in the hands of people who were known for having "the best." Princess Grace of Monaco once said, "...I don't know her very well, but she keeps sending all these things."
In 1953, Lauder introduced her first fragrance, Youth Dew, a bath oil that doubled as a perfume. Instead of using French perfumes by the drop behind each ear, women began using Youth Dew by the bottle in their bath water. In the first year, it sold 50,000 bottles, and by 1984, the figure had jumped to 150 million. Lauder was a subject of a 1985 TV documentary, Estee Lauder: The Sweet Smell of Success. Explaining her success, she said, "I have never worked a day in my life without selling. If I believe in something, I sell it, and I sell it hard."
She met Joseph Lauter when she was in her early 20s. On January 15, 1930, they married. The surname was later changed from Lauter to Lauder. Their first child, Leonard, was born March 19, 1933. The couple separated in 1939 and she moved to Florida, but they remarried in 1942. Their second son, Ronald, was born in 1944. Estée and Joseph Lauder remained married until his death in 1982. Leonard became the chief executive of Estée Lauder and is currently chairman of the board. Ronald was a Republican political appointee in the Reagan administration.
- "If you have a goal, if you want to be successful, if you really want to do it and become another Estee Lauder, you've got to work hard, you've got to stick to it and you've got to believe in what you're doing."
- "Beauty is an attitude. There's no secret. Why are all brides beautiful? Because on their wedding day they care about how they look. There are no ugly women – only women who don't care or who don't believe they're attractive."
- "If you don't sell, it's not the product that's wrong, it's you."
- "When you stop talking, you've lost a customer. When you turn your back, you've lost her."
- "Josephine Esther Mentzer was born at home in Corona, Queens, on July 1, 1908, according to several biographies, although her family believes it may have been two years earlier." The New York Times.
- Born 1906 as per the following obituaries, which give Lauder's age at death as 97: Obituary in The Telegraph and CNN obit for Estee Lauder
- Severo, Richard (2004-04-26). "Estée Lauder, Pursuer of Beauty And Cosmetics Titan, Dies at 97". The New York Times. Retrieved May 9, 2010.
- Business Builders in Cosmetics by Jacqueline C. Kent The Oliver Press, Inc 2003 | ISBN=1-881508-82-X
- San Diego Tribune: "Cosmetics titan who purveyed 'jars of hope'" By Richard Severo April 26, 2004
- Jewish Virtual Library: "Estée Lauder (1908-2004)" By Sara Alpern retrieved March 4, 2013
- Jewish Women's Archive: ""Estée Lauder" retrieved March 4, 2013
- Lauder, Estee (October 21, 1985). "Estee Lauder". New York Magazine (New York Media) 18 (41): 32. ISSN 0028-7369.
- Estee Lauder biography at www.financial-inspiration.com
- Kent 2003, p. 115.
- "Leonard Lauder". Retrieved October 31, 2010.
- "Cosmetics Mogul Estee Lauder Dies". cbsnews.com. April 25, 2004. Retrieved August 8, 2008.
- "Cosmetics Queen Estee Lauder dies at 97". China Daily. 2004-04-26. Retrieved May 9, 2010.
- The Editors of Perseus Publishing (2003-08-20). The Big Book of Business Quotations. Basic Books. p. 326. ISBN 0-7382-0848-5.
- Alpern, Sara, "Estee Lauder," Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia
- Kent, Jacqueline C. (2003), Business Builders in Cosmetics, The Oliver Press, ISBN 1-881508-82-X
- The Editors Of Perseus Publishing (2003), The Big Book of Business Quotations, Basic Books, ISBN 0-7382-0848-5
- Time magazine, Beauty Queen: Estee Lauder
- CNN report of passing
- Biography channel profile
- Short biography of the queen of cosmetics
- Infoplease profile on Estee Lauder
- Biography Channel profile of Estee Lauder
- IMDb profile of Estee Lauder
- Estée Lauder (businesswoman) at Find a Grave