Lessons in Innovation from History’s Beauty Magnate


She never told her age.

It was only when she died in 1966 that the world discovered Elizabeth Arden had lived for 88 years.

A woman before her time, this amazing Canadian-born entrepreneur almost single handily launched the modern day cosmetics industry.

In the early 1900’s, lipstick was associated with prostitutes.

But Arden changed all that, making cosmetics popular among the masses.

Innovation was the key to her success – using scientific formulations, introducing full beauty makeovers and learning how to co-ordinate eye, lip and facial makeup.

Her hard-nosed approach to business fueled what would ultimately become a $1 billion enterprise.

I only want people around me who can do the impossible.

Arden knew 100 years ago that people are the key to building a great business, regardless of the product or service. It wasn’t enough to have people who were good at what they did.  Arden wanted people who went above and beyond.

Hire people that push the envelope on excellence.  

It is remarkable what a woman can accomplish with just a little ambition.

To be innovative, one must be ambitious according to Arden, whose core team was made up of people who wanted to be the best. The lesson?

Hire for attitude.

I’m not interested in age.

Arden was perhaps the first person in business to run a flat organization where ideas trumped seniority.

It’s not how long you’ve been around, but what you can bring to the table.

Our clients are coping with the stress of financial loss by soaking in a hot bath scented with my Rose Geranium bath crystals.

Always the innovative marketer, Arden used the stock market crash of 1929 to give people something to feel good about – a luxurious, pampering bath.

Make people feel good about themselves and your business will thrive, in good times and bad.

Born in the Toronto suburb of Woodbridge, Ontario, Arden moved to New York at a young age to open a beauty salon on Fifth Avenue with a friend. It wasn’t long afterwards that one salon became many.

The legacy of Elizabeth Arden:

If you’re going to be in business, be the best.

Elizabeth Arden took a broad view of beauty, believing in good health and wellness. In this rare 1-minute video clip from 1932 that will put a smile on your face, Arden talks about having the correct posture.

© 2016, Cory Robert Galbraith, All Rights Reserved

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