Estée Lauder

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Josephine Esther Lauder (Mentzer)

Also Known As: "Estée Lauder"
Birthdate: (97)
Birthplace: Corona, New York, Queens County, New York, United States
Death: April 24, 2004 (97)
Manhattan, New York, New York County, New York, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Max Mentzer and Rose Rosenthal Mentzer
Wife of Joseph Lauder
Mother of Leonard Lauder and Ronald Lauder

Managed by: Randy Schoenberg
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Estée Lauder

Estée Lauder (/ˈɛsteɪ ˈlɔːdər/; July 1, 1906[1] – April 24, 2004) was an American businesswoman. She was the co-founder, along with her husband, Joseph Lauter (later Lauder),[2] 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][3] the second child born to Rose Schotz Rosenthal and Max Mentzer.[4][5] Her mother was French Catholic on her maternal side and Hungarian Jewish on her father's side.[6][7][8] Rose emigrated from Hungary to the United States in 1898 with her five children to join her then husband, Abraham Rosenthal.[4] But, in 1905, she married Max Mentzer,[4] a shopkeeper of Hungarian Jewish descent who had also immigrated to the United States in the 1890s.[4] 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.[9] 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."[5]

Career[edit] 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.[4]:115 She sold creams like Six-In-One Cold Cream and Dr Schotz's Viennese Cream to beauty shops, beach clubs and resorts.[10] 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 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.[4]:116

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.[11] 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."[10]

Personal life[edit] 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.[12][13] The couple separated in 1939 and she moved to Florida, but they remarried in 1942.[10] 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 Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense in the Reagan administration and was U.S. Ambassador to Austria in 1986–87.[14]

Death[edit] At age 97, Lauder died of cardiopulmonary arrest on April 24, 2004 at her home in Manhattan.[15]

Quotes[edit] "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."[citation needed]

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Estée Lauder's Timeline

July 1, 1906
New York, Queens County, New York, United States
March 19, 1933
Age 26
February 26, 1944
Age 37
April 24, 2004
Age 97
New York, New York County, New York, United States