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  • Writer's pictureKaren Lee

Meet HRH Glou Queen: Estée ✨👑✨

Updated: May 9, 2023

So, you may have heard, we're selling limited edition run of graphic tees that feature nine women. When I came up with the idea of celebrating some of the greatest female founders in the beauty industry, past, present, and future, I thought of each representative as a mini case study. Each one of them changed the industry in a fundamental way in such that their mark is still everywhere you look (or will be very soon). I hope you enjoy my blurbs about each of them, and will include links for you to learn more.



First up, we have Estée Lauder.

It was 1946 when Estée Lauder formed the company that continues to bear her name today. No need to remind anyone that women didn't have careers back then. They weren't encouraged to invent or hustle. Everyone has Estée to thank for our bins of samples and mini products. The concept of a gift with purchase (GWP) was her invention. She also built this HUGE empire that is still going strong today. Estée Lauder Companies owns 27 brands including MAC, La Mer, Too Faced, Clinique, and Tom Ford among them. In 1998, Time Magazine published a list of the 20th century's most influential business geniuses. Among the twenty selected? Estée was the only woman.

I also have a very personal connection with the brand because the first makeup that was truly mine was my mom's cast-off GWP items. I hardly bought any makeup in high school, but what I did use, was all Estée Lauder. The mascara doubled as brow gel. An EL lipgloss was saved for special occasions. Lipstick was blush. And even when I did buy makeup/skincare, I went to the EL counter because that's where my mom went.

This is the epitome of the 20th century beauty counter model. Generation after generation, you would go up to the counter at the department store and buy your skincare and makeup from the same kiosk. And I had close friends who shopped at the brands that their moms shopped at (Lancôme, Bobbi Brown). We were super nerdy and didn't know where else to go for basic staples, okay? I know it sounds a little silly even a few years out, but social media, influencers, and online shopping have really changed the game.

I want to mention here that Estee Lauder was not the first female founder in beauty to build an empire. There was Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubenstein in the generation prior, but I could only include so many faces on a t-shirt and wanted to make sure we had room for names who are more relevant to audiences today.

Learn more:

Next up: Anita Roddick


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