Founder of Estée Lauder Companies (View Profile)
Estee Lauder is one of the wealthiest women entrepreneurs of all time. She is the founder of Estee Lauder, a cosmetic empire that has earned millions of dollars. She was the only woman listed in Time magazine’s 1998 list of the “most influential geniuses of the 20th century.” In that same year, she was inducted in the Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame.
Estee Lauder, or Josephine Esther Mentzer, was born in Corona, Queens, New York on July 1, 1906. She had eight siblings. Estee was a Hungarian Jewish immigrant. His father owned a hardware store, where her family lived. This was where Estee sharpened her business skills.
Her uncle, Dr. John Schotz was a chemist who owned a company, the New Way Laboratories, which manufactured beauty products. Her uncle first taught her how to make women beautiful. Through this, Estee developed a great interest in American glamour. That was when her passion in making women beautiful was unleashed.
Estee Lauder married Joe Lauter, a son of Hungarian immigrants, in 1930. Estee and Joe’s first son was Leonard Allan. Estee did not live her life as a mother and housewife. She wanted to become an actress, so she took an acting program at the New York Cherry Lane Theater.
Estee and Joe had a happy family at first. But due to Estee’s low self-confidence, the family started to encounter problems. She was frustrated and kept saying to herself that she would not be able to reach the top. Her negative feelings frightened Joe. It resulted into a divorce in 1939. Estee was separated from her husband for four years. She came back to Joe after realizing that living alone is frustrating.
Estee pursued her dreams of selling beauty products. She succeeded and made the biggest breakthrough in 1953. Her sales went to top after introducing Youth Dew, a bath oil, to the market. On its first year, it sold more than fifty thousand, it grew to 150 million by 1984. Youth Dew carried 80% of the Estee Lauder business.
Success continued as she launched a new product called Aramis. Aramis was considered the best cologne in the world. Sales went up not only because of the launching of new and effective cosmetic products, but due to her efforts in promoting her beauty products among acquaintances and friends.
During the old days of Estee and Joe, their older son, Leonard Lauder, took over the business and was appointed CEO. Lauder together with her sons continued to earn billions as sales continue to increase every year.
Whenever asked about her success, she had this to say: “I have never worked a day in my life without selling. If I believe in something, I sell it, and I sell it hard.”
Leonard worked together with his younger brother. However, his younger brother left the business and decided to do governmental service. Lauder’s family net worth is said to reach $5.1 billion and is ranked as one of the top 300 richest individuals in the world.