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3 Women Behind the Most Iconic Beauty Empires

3 Women Behind the Most Iconic Beauty Empires

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In honor of International Women's Day, we decided to round up some of the most iconic business women in the beauty industry! These three trailblazers founded some of the most popular, successful, and esteemed beauty companies we STILL know and love!

These women were the first of their kind, going on to inspire female entrepreneurs for generations to come. Their many achievements, amazing empires, and killer business savvy is just the beginning of why these professionals are still such an inspiration to women in the workplace today. To see more women who are totally crushing it in the business world, make sure to check out our Behind the Brand series where we interview women at some of our favorite brands!


1. Estée Lauder of Estée Lauder



A photo posted by @aerin on


BIRTHDATE: July 1, 1908


Estée Lauder became interested in cosmetics after her uncle, a chemist who sold beauty products, taught her the ropes. With her husband, Joseph Lauter (later Lauder), she went on to create one of the largest and most successful beauty companies of all time. Today Estée Lauder continues to make high-quality cosmetics garnering billions of dollars in revenue. 


+ Inducted into the Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame in 1988.

+ Only woman on Time Magazine's 1998 list of the 20 most influential business geniuses of the 20th century.

+ Honored with a Presidential Medal of Freedom, an award bestowed by the President of the United States, which is the highest civilian award in the United States.

FIRST JOB: Worked with her uncle, Dr. John Schotz (a chemist), on his business. His company, New Way Laboratories, sold beauty products such as creams, lotions, rouge, and fragrances.

FUN FACT: Lauder was as innovative with her marketing strategies as she was with her cosmetic products, eventually making her the richest self-made woman in the world at the time of her death.


Estee lauder products

Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-In-Place Foundation / Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Serum Synchronized Complex II / Estée Lauder Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess Bronzer


2. Mary Kay Ash of Mary Kay Cosmetics



A photo posted by Mary Kay (@marykayus) on


BIRTHDATE: May 12, 1918


Mary Kay Ash started her legendary business from a tiny store in Dallas in 1963.  Her goal was to provide women with the open-ended potential to achieve personal and financial success. Today 3.5 million Independent Beauty Consultants sell over 200 premium products around the world, allowing these women to discover extra income, empowered choices and the meaning of true beauty. 


+ Horatio Alger Award, which is given to outstanding Americans who exemplify dedication, purpose, and perseverance in their personal and professional lives. Recipients have often achieved success in the face of adversity.

+ Inducted into the Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame in 1996.

FIRST JOB: Mary Kay Ash Sold books door to door.

FUN FACT: Mary Kay authored three books, all which became best-sellers!


Mary Kay

Mary Kay Lash Love Lengthening Mascara / Mary Kay® Mineral Cheek Color / Mary Kay Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover


3. Coco Chanel of Chanel



A photo posted by CHANEL (@chanelofficial) on

BIRTHDATE: August 19, 1883


Coco Chanel founded her fashion label in 1909 in Paris, France. Her style of clothing was revolutionarily simple at a time when women of fashion were ornately decorated. In 1922, Chanel broke into the cosmetics industry with perfume No.5, named for the sample Coco liked the best. Chanel remains a classic, high fashion brand with a commitment to quality cosmetics.


+ Neiman Marcus Fashion Award, 1957.

+ Chanel is also the only fashion designer who is featured on Time magazine's list of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century.

FIRST JOB: Worked as a seamstress.

FUN FACT: Coco had ambitions for a stage career, but after being in a production, decided it wasn't for her.


Chanel products

Chanel Lèvres Scintillantes Glossimer / No. 5 by Chanel for Women / Chanel Perfection Lumière

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