The story and the business of Estée Lauder Companies

This post is also available in: Italian

Estée Lauder Companies is one of the biggest  company  founded in 1946 in New York from Estée Lauder and her husband. When we talk about Estée Lauder we associate the name to the cosmetic brand but there is much more under this name, with this post you’ll learn how this business started, you’ll know that brands such as Mac, Clinique and Bobbi Brown are part of this big company and you’ll learn some business advices from Leonard Lauder the current chairman!


Estée Lauder born as Josephine Esther Mentzer , started to be interested in cosmetic world while observing her uncle that created home made creams. She started to promote his creams in local beauty salons demonstrating the products . In 1946 she and her husband launched the company selling only 4 products. One year later they had their first order from Saks Fifth Avenue . During the following years sales growth very fast. In 1960 they opened an account in the London department store Harrods. Estée Lauder Storia

Estée Lauder introduced the high-touch service : women could test on their skin the products before buy them .

Purchase promotion early on by giving away samples of her products with a purchase.

Today Estée Lauder is one of the biggest cosmetic companies  which includes prestige brands.

In 1964 they introduced Aramis, the first men fragrance to be sold in department stores, this fragrance is still  sold today in 130 countries.

In 1968 the companies opened Clinique Laboratories, Inc. the first dermatologist -created , allergy tested and fragrance free cosmetic brand. Un-ritratto-di-Estee-Lauder-del-1972_image_ini_625x465_downonly

The other brands were acquired later ,  Estèe Lauder Companies includes :

AERIN Beauty


Bobbi Brown

Bumble and bumble


Darphin Paris

Donna Karan Cosmetics

Ermenegildo Zegna

Estée Lauder


Frédéric Malle


GoodSkin Labs

Jo Malone London


La Mer

Lab Series

Le Labo



Michael Kors






Tom Ford Beauty

Tommy Hilfiger

Tory Burch


 What does Estée Lauder owe its success?

1) Giving samples free for each purchase .

2) The Youth dew a bath oil that smells so good! The Opium YSL fragrance is based on this oil.

When Estée Lauder presented this product to the Lafayette Gallery in Paris she didn’t receive the order the first time so she “accidentally” dropped a bottle in the crowd and people asked about this fragrance so the manager decided to take the order !

They were scared of the fast growth of the company so they created  Clinique to compete with Estée Lauder .

Estée Lauder continued to acquire brands , they bought Mac and then they bought its first  competitor : Bobbi Brown!

This is the principal strategy of Estée Lauder , they acquire or create new brand but they keep their own names and these brands still compete each other! So Mac is still Mac even if is part of the Estée Lauder Companies!

The current chairman is Leonard Lauder son of Joseph and Estée Lauder. On February 24, 2015 during a conference he said that the biggest lesson he has learned is to stay with people smarter than you. He hires people that are better than him! He said a leader is only as successful as the people who work for that person want him or her to be. “So you want to make people successful, because the more successful you make them, the more successful you will be.”

According to Leonard a good leader  :

  1. Has a strong sense of self (“Your ego has got to be under control.”)
  2. Takes risks (“The more risks you take, the more successful you will be.”)
  3. Knows who should make each decision. Is fair to others. (“If you’re fair, people will trust you.”)
  4. Is a good listener (“If you can’t listen, forget it.”)
  5. Is visible (“I like walking through the halls. I like other people seeing me. I like seeing them.”)
  6. Never knowingly sets goals that people can’t achieve.
  7. Gives people their dignity (“When it comes to firing, I’m better than Donald Trump.”)
  8. Has a clear vision. (“Know where you want to go. If people can buy into your vision, they will take you there.”)

We are at the end of this long post 😀 I studied the history, the business and I read a lot about this Company, so I hope that you like this post and that you now know more about this big company and that its business model will maybe inspire yours 🙂

Leave me a comment below with your opinion about this brand, did you know all these informations? Was this post helpful?

See you soon!

Don’t miss the next post 😉

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