Elizabeth Arden (1884-1966)
Canadian-born American cosmetics tycoon (pictured right) and rival of Estée Lauder and Helena Rubinstein.
What made her successful?
1. Selling dreams
Arden aimed to sell “youth and beauty” to women through her cosmetics.
So she taught women how to apply make-up and pioneered such ideas as
She was also largely responsible for establishing make-up as essential for a beautiful, ladylike image for the
rich, when previously it had been associated with the lower classes and prostitutes.
“Every woman has the right to be beautiful”, she said.
2. Customer loyalty
She made products that women liked and repeatedly bought.
“Repetition makes reputation and reputation makes customers”, she said.
3. Target market
She aimed at middle aged, plain women for whom her products promised youth and beauty.
4. Quality and exclusivity
Her cosmetics were top quality with an exclusive image, so that she could charge high (or premium) prices.
5. Great employees
She only wanted people who could “do the impossible”, she said.
Her first American husband gave her help with the business and American citizenship.
But they divorced in 1935, and he went to work for Helena Rubinstein (pictured right),
Arden’s great rival!
Her second and last marriage (1942-4) also ended in divorce.
“I pick good women, but I haven’t had any luck with my men”, she joked.
6. Hard work and single-mindedness
She wanted to be number one in cosmetics and worked incredibly hard to achieve it.
She removed anything in her path that stopped her including her husbands!
Arden (pictured right) worked hard but played hard, enjoying the luxurious lifestyle her wealth gave
She loved expensive clothes (one of her trademarks was to always dress in pink) and owning racehorses, winning
the Kentucky Derby in 1947.
8. Tough and self-confident
She pushed her employees very hard, only wanting people “who can do the impossible” and telling them what to
She constantly reminded them that she was the boss.
9. Spirit and enthusiasm
She loved the cosmetics business, and never lost her youthful enthusiasm for it.
Age didn’t matter to her, because “you’re as old as you feel”, she said.
10. Going global
Arden (pictured right) wasn’t content with being only successful in the country of her birth,
She moved to New York where she opened a beauty salon in 1909. Another followed in
France in 1922, so opening up the European market.
The business later spread to Australia and South America.
Key quote on
Nothing that costs only a dollar is worth having
Key quote on women
Every woman has the right to be beautiful.
Key quote on age
You’re as old as you feel.
Key quote on
Repetition makes reputation and reputation makes customers
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