Saturday, 16 March 2013

Brand Masterclass - Estée Lauder

Josephine Esther Mentor was born in Queens, New York, daughter to a Hungarian mother and Czech father. Estée was a variation of her nickname Esty. She was in her high school years when her interest in beauty started, her uncle had moved into the family home as well as his skin care preparations created in the family kitchen (which later then transferred into a stable in the back of the house).

Estée initially started showing products to ladies in the local salons while drying their styled hair under dryers. Even from the earliest beginnings, she believed that the customer should be touched, shown the results and have the products explained. This success led to the formation of the Estée Lauder brand, partnering with her husband, with four products: Super-Rich All Purpose Creme, Creme Pack, Cleansing Oil, and Skin Lotion. Within the first year they had their biggest order $800 worth of product to be sold from Saks 5th Avenue, New York.

She never attended college, but drew from her own instincts as a saleswoman, marketeer and consumer. The gift with purchase that we know today was introduced by Lauder, by giving samples of products with purchases to encourage loyalty and further purchases. The first international account was opened in 1960 in Harrods, London, with Hong Kong to follow the year after.

Mrs. Lauder attended the opening of nearly all news accounts, training advisors in sales techniques and merchandise displays. Always smartly dressed, she would travel the country to met with buyers, editors and the public. Even through Lauder was an advocate of mouth-of-mouth (one of her sayings was , "Telephone, Telegraph, Tell a Woman"), when they did start to advertise she was strict that the images used are inspirational and approachable. The original pale turquoise jars were chosen to portray luxury and match with bathroom decor of the time.

Not only was she a skin care pioneer, Estée also had a perfumers nose for fragrance. Her earliest success was with Youth Dew and is still one of their best sellers today. She also pioneered fragrance as an everyday need rather than a luxury by originally selling this as a bath oil to make it, "Guiltless journey to their own fragrance buying adventure."
Mrs Lauder also oversaw the creation of Aramis, Clinique, Prescriptions, Lab Series for Men, and Origins with the emphasis on the highest quality of ingredients. Now a global leader in beauty, Mrs Lauder retired in 1995 with her sad passing in April 2004. The reins have now been handed over to the Lauder family, but the values are the embodiment of Estée Lauder herself like the first day she was on counter herself.

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