“All the women had purple noses and gray lips and their faces were chalk white from terrible powder. I recognized that the United States could be my life’s work.” Helena Rubinstein, cosmetics magnate.
If only securing your niche in the marketplace was always that obvious. Finding the need is step one. Step two is promoting your find. Helena knew how effective marketing could be. She was one of the first to use celebrity endorsements. She understood the perceived value in overpricing. She knew the trick of implying pseudo-science in the defining of her skincare line. She made sure her packaging was luxurious even down to her beauticians adorned in neat uniforms. No detail was left to chance. She even commissioned Salvador Dali to design a powder compact.
Would she have been as successful with just seeing the obvious? The answer is no.
She sold her company to Lehman brothers for 7.3 million in 1928. She bought the shares back for less than a million after the crash. That must have been a nice moment for her. Not so much for the brothers. Her company grew to be worth well over a 100 million.
I wish I had some shares of that stock. For now I am banking on spotting an old powder compact with the initials S.D. on it.