Josephine Esther Mentzer Lauder, Estée Lauder, was born on July 1, 1906. The only woman on the Time magazine list of “20 most influential business geniuses of the 20th century” for 1998, she was also a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She grew up helping in the family hardware store and later helping her uncle with his beauty supply store. Her uncle, Dr John Schotz, was a chemist who created his own products. She began by selling his products and was quick to hand out samples and demonstrate their use.
In 1935, she formed the Estée Lauder company with her husband, Joseph. In 1948, she persuaded Saks Fifth Avenue to give her counter space in their stores where she developed her personal sales approach. Whenever possible, she always attended the launch of a new counter or store.
Estée and Joseph married in 1930 and after separating in 1939, they remarried in 1942 and stayed together until his death in 1982. They had two sons and Estée died at age 97 at her home in 2004. (Some biographies give her birth year as 1908, but her family believes it to be 1906.)
Find out what else happened on July 1 in Women’s History.