“You ask me my age? I tell you it simply doesn’t matter”. It’s a famous quote from Estee Lauder, the niece of a Hungarian chemist who made her fall in love, from an early age, with the cosmetic innovations that make women more beautiful. Estee believed that what’s really important is the glow that you can easily notice.
The first step towards the billion euros business was a fortunate event. One day, the owner of the hairstyling saloon she would regularly visit asked Estee how does she manage to have such a beautiful skin. It was then she thought for the first time to sell her family formulas. A month later she came back to the saloon with a few samples. The owner of the place was so happy with the results she obtained using the products, that she asked Estee to launch a brand extension for her, a cosmetics saloon.
Shortly, in 1946, Estee officially launched the first four products with her name on: The Cleansing Oil, The Creme Pack, her uncle’s Super-Rich All Purpose Creme, and The Skin Lotion.
She promoted the brand by herself, using basic marketing tools. From product demos while women in a hairstyling saloon were sitting under the hair drier, to ad-hoc conversations on the street, in an elevator or the train. And she offered many free samples. So she managed to extend the number of her clients to other saloons and hotels in New York.
She used a smart marketing approach when promoting one of her first innovations, Estoderme Youth-Dew Crème, having the egg as the main ingredient. To demonstrate the incredible effect of the product, Estee offered the cream to the famous – and unapproachable – Carmel Snow, the editor in chief of Harper’s Bazaar magazine at the time. The dedicated article which appeared in the magazine in 1951 was the kick that the product needed to soon become a great success.
In 1966, Estee launched her most expensive cream to the moment, Re-Nutriv. The product was commercialized at the, nowadays, equivalent price of 1000 dollars. It was a lot, but she knew how to argue its value to the last penny: “Why do you spend so much for a Picasso? The linen under his painting costs $2.75, each jar of paint he used was perhaps $1.75. Why, then, do you pay a small fortune for a small picture? You’re paying for creativity… for experience… and something that works for you.”
In 1960, Estee Lauder products were sold outside the US, and now they are sold in more than 150 countries around the world. Certainly, some of them are also on your bathroom table, aren’t they?