Advert for Estée Lauders ‘Beautiful’ from 1984

Estée Lauder (July 1, 1906 – April 24, 2004) was the American co-founder, with her husband Joseph Lauder, of Estée Lauder Companies, a pioneering cosmetics company. Lauder was the only woman on TIME magazine’s 1998 list of the 20 most influential business geniuses of the 20th century. She was the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She was inducted into the Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame in 1988.

Early History

Lauder was born Josephine Esther Mentzer in Corona, Queens, New York, the daughter of Hungarian Jewish immigrants Rose Schotz Rosenthal and 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 choose Esther instead of Esty. She did so because the name was rare and unusual. No one knew how to spell it or heard of it. Esty was her nickname from her parents. Her father had an accent. When he pronounced Esty, it sounded like Estée. 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 Lauder 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. Her childhood dreams was to become an actress, dreaming of her “name in lights, flowers, handsome men.

Info gleaned from Wikipedia

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