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From Perfume Peddler to Merchandising Genius

Posted by Andrea Welzien on Thursday, March 22nd, 2018

When you think of Coty, you imagine one of the most successful fragrance houses in the industry. François Coty (1874-1934), while most famous for being a professional French perfumer, was a politician, journalist, millionaire and a descendant of Napoleon Bonaparte. Coty (born Joseph Marie François Spoturno dit Coti) started out peddling his perfumes to barbers, and broke into the big perfume business of Europe through his merchandising genius. Before him, perfume was a luxury item that only the rich could afford. But Coty marketed his perfume as a luxury necessary for everyone and sold perfume affordable to middle and working class women. His bottles were designed by the great ceramist, Lalique, and represented the first time that perfume bottles were designed to be appealing to the eyes. Impressively, Coty invented the concept of a fragrance set (i.e. perfume and soap identical scents). His first huge perfume success was his Rose Jacqueminot scent in 1904 which launched in a Parisian department store.

Coty was able to compete on price in America by avoiding high tariffs – he imported the ingredients to New York and manufactured there. Coty expanded product to cosmetics and skin care, and to Europe, Asia, and Latin America. He gave simple talc powder a makeover with his famous white and orange L’Origan box. By 1925, 36 million women worldwide used Coty face powders. In 1923 he was elected Senator in Corsica, but never actually got to act in his elected position due to accusations of bribery. Coty also started the political paper, L’Ami du Peuple, which had a circulation of almost a million. His wealth was so great that he was also able to loan the French government one hundred million francs for war debt. In 1963, Coty’s wife Yvonne sold Coty Inc. to pharmaceutical giant Pfizer. In 1996 Coty Inc. acquired Rimmel and in January 2000, the brand was introduced to American consumers. In 2005, Coty announced it was working on a deal to purchase some of Proctor & Gamble’s beauty brands for $12.5 million. Coty has since completed the deal, and is now one of the world’s top beauty companies, remaining #1 in fragrance, #2 in haircare and #3 in color cosmetics. Some of Coty’s most well-known brands are CoverGirl, Sally Hansen and Rimmel. Celebrity fragrances are some of their most popular, including Katy Perry, Beyonce, Justin Bieber, David Beckham and more.

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The True Identity of Sally Hansen

Posted by Andrea Welzien on Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

Everyone in the beauty industry and even most average consumers have used Sally Hansen’s products. It is one of the most popular nail brands in the U.S. but also carries beauty tools, hair removal and more. But many have wondered just who the namesake Sally Hansen is? Was she a real person or was the brand named after a fictional character? Well, we finally know the truth! Just late last year Vice President of Global Marketing at Sally Hansen, Jeremy Lowenstein, released his findings after 3 years of research.

Sally Hansen was born with the name Finney, and started out working in her family’s store La Finne cosmetics. She married in 1927 and became Sally Gunther for just two years until they divorced in 1929. Four years later, she re-married and became Sally Hansen. The name Sally Hansen then disappeared in 1946 when she divorced amicably with her husband and in 1947 she re-married and became Sally Newton until her death in 1963. No wonder it took so long to untangle the mystery!

In the 1930’s, Sally re-branded the family company to House of Hollywood — they carried cosmetics, haircare and fragrances. Just a few years later she became President of the company and set her sights on the rest of the U.S. In the 1940’s, she moved to New York City and launched Sally Hansen, Inc. This was a bold move during a time when women were expected to be homemakers, not move away to start a business. She even became the first female head of the California Cosmetics Association and also had her own beauty column in the Los Angeles Times titled “Your Candid Mirror”. Her articles offered beauty and personal care advice including nail tips, cosmetics and hair style suggestions. Hansen was a go-getter and a master at multi-tasking. She trademarked “Hard as Nails”, the original strengthening treatment, which is still one of the brand’s top-selling products today.

It’s hard to believe that the Sally Hansen legacy was a mystery for so long. “For me, being able to find her was truly remarkable, and being able to bring her story to life was just a constant inspiration for how I look at the brand” said Lowenstein.

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WIN Your FAVORITE Nail Polish Shade!

Posted by Andrea Welzien on Tuesday, February 6th, 2018

WIN Your FAVE Shade of Nail Polish!

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Posted by Andrea Welzien on Wednesday, January 31st, 2018

Do you have a trade show or corporate event coming up? Cosmetic Promotions can help! We design innovative signage and displays, custom tester and sample holders, brochures and provide labor for trade shows to help you with engagement and connection. Get the word out there about your new product line with a custom designed full-color tri-fold brochure. Ask us about special pricing – the more you need, the less you pay per piece!

Need top talent to help showcase your next special event? Let us provide a professional makeup artist or beauty expert to do makeovers, manicures, skin care consultations or product demonstrations! We are your one stop shop for all your event needs. Add a face chart or skin care quiz, product training, poster or custom standee! We can design any custom printed materials, even promotional items such as gift bags, compact mirrors, makeup cases and more.

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Why Revlon & Not Revson?

Posted by Andrea Welzien on Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

The huge company we know as Revlon was founded as a nail polish company in 1932, with $300, by Charles Revson and his brother Joseph. Charles Haskell Revson was born on October 11, 1906 in Somerville, Massachusetts. After graduating high school, Revson went to work for a dress company and then as a nail polish salesman for the Elka company with his brother Joseph. When they were told they couldn’t sell beyond their New York City territory, they quit and began their own business. Charles and Joseph Revson founded Revlon Nail Enamel Corporation with Charles Lachman, a chemist who had married into Dresden Chemical Company (a manufacturer and distributor of nail polish). The L in Revlon is for Lachman, who had no active role in the company but owned a third of the business. Revson offered opaque nail polish that completely covered the nail and more color options. Most nail polishes at that time were transparent, and only came in three shades of red. Revson used his sales skills to sell to beauty salons, and eventually made a big order to Marshall Fields in 1934.

In 1939, Revlon had another huge increase in sales when lipstick that coordinated with the polish colors was introduced using the slogan “matching lips and fingertips”. Revlon sponsored the television show, The $64,000 Question in the 1950’s which also increased sales. In the 1960’s and 1970’s Revlon expanded into skin-care products, shampoo, hair spray, and perfumes.

In 1973, the affordable fragrance Charlie became the best-selling fragrance worldwide. On the downside, Revson’s attempt to expand into the fashion field, shoe polish, plastic flowers, and electric razors all failed. However, Revson was a very innovative marketer. He came up with creative nail polish colors like ‘Fatal Apple’, launched seductive advertising campaigns before they became the norm, and broke tradition in international advertising. Instead of matching the ad to the market, he introduced American style and looks to foreign countries, making a ‘Western look’ popular. Over the years Revson gave millions of dollars to charities. He was particularly supportive of Jewish, medical and educational causes. Upon his death almost half his estate of $100 million was used to establish a charitable foundation. Revson passed away from pancreatic cancer on August 24, 1975. Currently, Revlon and its subsidiaries, Almay, Ultima II, and Mitchum lines, sells to large masses of consumers in 175 countries. U.S.-based Revlon went public in 1996 and in 2009 had 5,600 employees.

Photo Attributions:
With the President of Revlon Co., Charles Revson, 1957” by Kristine is licensed under CC BY 2.0

1973 Beauty Ad, Ultima II Spungold Makeup, Charles Revson, Lovely Model (2 pages)” by Classic Film is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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