The History of Estee Lauder

This article was written by Phin Upham

In 1946, Josephine and Joseph Lauder began selling cosmetics in New York City. Their inventory was small at first, consisting of just four products, but they soon expanded. Their initial offering included an all-purpose cream, cleansing oils, and skin lotions. Within two years of selling their makeup, they had landed their first major account with Saks Fifth Avenue, a famous New York retailer for high fashion.

Estee Lauder expanded steadily into the 1960s, until they eventually opened an account in London. Their first department store in London was Harrods, and they also expanded into Hong Kong. In 1964, they shifted some of their business into the growing market for fragrances. They began a company called “Aramis,” and launched the men’s fragrance “Yeremes” named after the Armenian city.

This was the same decade where Estee Lauder herself received some important awards, recognizing her business prowess. She was named one of the ten most outstanding women in business by several publications, and earned a Spirit Achievement award from Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

In 1968, the company began its Clinique brand of both men’s and women’s products. This brand still flourishes today, and was introduced in the Soviet Union in 1981.

Estee Lauder has a history of iconic spokespeople for its various brands. It has used the likenesses of Paulina Porizkova, Elizabeth Hurley and Gwyneth Paltrow to sell its products. Estee Lauder currently sells its products out of a chain of freestanding retail outlets.

About the Author: Phin Upham is an investor at a family office/hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media & Technology group. You may contact Phin on his Phin Upham website