Estée Lauder became a household name for beauty thanks to the luxurious makeup, lotions, and perfumes she created and marketed. Born to a working class, immigrant family, Lauder was determined to succeed in American society. Her uncle, a chemist who created face creams in his home laboratory, encouraged Lauder to assist him, create her own concoctions, and market products to friends and local salons. In 1930 she married Joseph Lauter, later changing the spelling of their name. Though they divorced in 1939 because Lauder felt she couldn’t be both a wife and an entrepreneur, they remarried in 1942 and Joseph quit his own business to assist her. Eventually their two sons also joined her company. Lauder helped pioneer free giveaways and relied on word-of-mouth marketing, but also kept her products in high-end department stores like Saks to make them more desirable. In 1964 she launched a new line for men, and later created a hypoallergenic line, Clinique. By the 1980s her business had gone global and Forbes listed her as one of the 400 wealthiest Americans. In 1978 she received the Legion of Honor from the French government, and she was regularly honored for her business achievements and her contributions to National Cancer Care.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Estee Lauder." (Viewed on July 16, 2019) <https://jwa.org/people/lauder-est-e>.