It’s All About Persistence.
Josephine Esther Mentzer was born in Corona, Queens, in 1906, one of nine children born to a Hungarian Jewish mother, Rose Schotz Rosenthal, and a Czechoslovak Jewish father, Max Mentzer.When she was a baby, her parents wanted to name her Esty, after her mother’s favorite Hungarian aunt. When it was time for the clerk to write out the birth certificate, her mother chose Esther instead of Esty. She did so because Esty was too unusual and no one knew how to spell it. Esty was her parents’ nickname.
Much of her childhood was spent trying to make ends meet with most of the nine children helping out at the family’s hardware store. It was while working in this store that Esty got her first taste of business. Her father’s hardware store gave her a better understanding of entrepreneurship and what it takes to be a successful retailer, although her childhood dream was to become an actress, her “name in lights, flowers, handsome men”.
As Esty grew older she became more interested in her uncle’s business than her father’s. She agreed to help her uncle, Dr John Schotz, a chemist. He owned a company called New Way Laboratories and all the day long he sold numerous beauty products. Esty was fascinated as she watched him create creams, lotions, rouge, and fragrances. Her uncle taught her how to wash her face and do facial massages.
After high school, she focused on her uncle’s business. She called one of his creams “Super Rich All-Purpose Cream” and began selling beauty products to her friends. She sold creams like “Six-In-One Cold Cream” and “Dr Schotz Viennese Cream” to beauty shops, beach clubs and resorts.
Esty 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.
In 1948, Esty persuaded the bosses of New York City department stores to give her counter space at Saks Fifth Avenue. Once in that space, she utilized a personal selling approach that proved as potent as the promise of her skin regimens and perfumes.
This, of course, is the story of Estée Lauder (Esty changed her name to Estée because when her father pronounced Esty, it sounded like Estée, due to his accent); and even after forty years in business, Estée Lauder would attend every launch of a new cosmetics counter or shop. She would give her famous friends and acquaintances small samples of her products for their handbags; she wanted her brand in the hands of people who were known for having “the best”. Princess Grace of Monaco once said, “…I don’t know her very well, but she keeps sending all these things”.
“If you have a goal, if you want to be successful, if you really want to do it and become another Estée 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.” -Estée Lauder
“When I thought I couldn’t go on, I forced myself to keep going. My success is based on persistence, not luck.” – Estée Lauder