#136 Estée Lauder

Episode Summary

What I learned from reading A Success Story by Estee Lauder.

Episode Notes

What I learned from reading A Success Story by Estee Lauder.


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You can probably reach out with comparative ease and touch a life of serenity and peace. You can wait for things to happen and not get too sad when they don’t. That’s fine for some but not for me. Serenity is pleasant, but it lacks the ecstasy of achievement. [0:10]

I’ve always believed that if you stick to a thought and carefully avoid distraction along the way, you can fulfill a dream. I kept my eye on the target. I never allowed my eye to leave the target. I always believed that success comes from not letting your eyes stray from that target.  [1:10]

Beauty is an ancient industry: Women have always enhanced their looks. It has always been so. It will always be so. [4:18] 

Lessons from here mother: The secret is to imagine yourself as the most important person in the room. Imagine it vividly enough and you will become that person. [6:01] 

You could make a thing wonderful by enhancing its outward appearance. Little did I know I’d be doing the same thing, multiplied by a billionfold. [8:45]

Everything has to be sold aggressively. [9:05]

I have never worked a day in my life without selling. If I believe in something, I sell it, and sell it hard. [9:39] 

My drive and persistence were always there, and those are the qualities for building a successful business. [10:38] 

The moment she realizes she could make beauty her life’s work: This is the story of bewitchment. Uncle John [a skin specialist] had worlds to teach me. Do you know what it means for a young girl to suddenly have someone take her dreams seriously? Teach her secrets? I could think of nothing else. [12:09]

The humble beginning of the Estee Lauder empire: This was my first chance at a real business. I would have a small counter in a beauty salon. Whatever I sold would be mine to keep. No partners. I would risk the rent, but if it worked, I would start the business I always dreamed about. Risk taking is the cornerstone of empires. No one ever became a success without taking chances. [15:30]

Sales technique of the century: Now the big secret. I would give the woman a sample of whatever she did not buy as a gift. I just knew, even though I had not yet named the technique, that gift with a purchase was very appealing. The idea was to convince a woman to try a product. She would be faithful forever.  [16:30]

I didn’t need bread to eat but I worked as though I did, for the pure love of the venture. For me, teaching about beauty was an emotional experience. [18:52]

I was single-minded in the pursuit of my dream. [21:01] 

Despite all the nay sayers, there was never a single moment when I considered giving up. That was simply not a viable alternative. [22:12]

Word of mouth was what built the foundation of her business: Women were telling women. They were selling my cream before they even go to the salon. Tell-a-Woman was the word-of-mouth campaign that launched Estee Lauder Cosmetics. [22:41]

Great packaging does not copy or study. It invents. [24:50]

Sak’s Fifth Avenue placed an $800 order. This was her response: Breaking that first barrier was perhaps the single most exciting moment I have ever known. [26:16] 

“Missionaries make better products.” — Jeff Bezos:  I was a woman on a mission. I had to show as many women as I could reach how to stay beautiful. [28:07] 

The free sample sales technique she pioneered in the beauty industry: The gift to the customer —the free something that would sell everything else. You give people a product to try. If they like the quality, they buy it. They haven’t been lured in by an advertisement but convinced by the product itself. [29:10]

We took the money we planned to use on advertising and invested it instead in enough material to give away large quantities of our products. [30:00] 

A great story about how Estee Lauder convinced more women to buy perfume. [32:59] 

A great story about how Estee Lauder expanded into Europe. [36:31] 

Be determined and sell!: It’s not enough to have the most wonderful product in the world. You must be able to sell it. One woman with definite ideas, pride in her product, and a hands-on approach could lay the foundation for a strong business. [40:57] 

Our unique style has come from years of trial and error. Truths have emerged that have worked for us. Let me share them with you. [41:24] 

Keep an eye on the competition. This doesn’t mean copying them, as I’ve made clear. Being interested in other people’s ideas for the purpose of saying, “We can do it better,” is not copying. Innovation doesn’t mean inventing the wheel each time; innovation can mean a whole new way of looking at old things. [42:10] 

I have listened to every episode released and look forward to every episode that comes out. The only criticism I would have is that after each podcast I usually want to buy the book because I am interested, so my poor wallet suffers.”— Gareth

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