International Women's Day

Honoring Women Entrepreneurs in the Beauty Industry

Being an entrepreneur requires courage, dedication and patience. Sometimes, when things get difficult, it becomes difficult to persevere. However, the beauty industry has witnessed many women entrepreneurs who faced unprecedented challenges and emerged victorious. 

Even though beauty is traditionally considered a female domain, business in general has historically favoured men. Women entrepreneurs who establish a successful business in the face of many challenges, both societal and financial, deserve all the credit. 

Today, we are here to honor a few women who have revolutionized the beauty space and set a precedent. These women have dedicated their lives to building brands that continue to have an impact. Let us celebrate and honor them this International Women’s Day.

Beauty Industry Pioneer Women

These 3 women are just a few of the women that helped to launch the beauty industry into what it is today.

Helena Rubinstein

Helena Rubinstein

Helena Rubinstein, a Polish-American businesswoman, established the Helena Rubinstein Incorporated cosmetics company. She climbed the ladder to become one of the world’s richest women. Rubinstein began with almost nothing and built an empire. She knew that there was already a need for beauty cream for patients whose skin had been diagnosed by doctors of the time to “need treatment”, so she decided to make one herself with lanolin. Her first launch, Crème Valaze, paved the way for her to open a salon on Collins Street. She began to help her clients attain the glamor they had always wanted.

 Soon, Helena began to open her salons in different countries. The American market favored Helena tremendously.  Her effective marketing strategies gave her an edge. She also understood the appeal of luxurious packaging and the importance of selling cosmetics as more than just a product. Her exclusive beauty salons made women feel special and emphasized the need for self-care.

In 1959, Rubinstein represented the US cosmetics industry at the American National Exhibition in Moscow. Helena was “the first self-made female millionaire,” and there is no doubt that she continues to inspire female entrepreneurs. The company Helena Rubinstein, Inc. was bought by Colgate Palmolive in 1973. Helena’s legacy is invaluable.

Image Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helena_Rubinstein

Elizabeth Arden

Elizabeth Arden, born Florence Nightingale Graham, established a brand that has made history. Her successful line of cosmetics was accompanied by a chain of beauty salons and spas. Florence Graham worked a variety of jobs before finding her calling in the cosmetics industry. She moved to New York City and became an assistant to a beauty specialist, Eleanor Adair. Two years later, she partnered with Elizabeth Hubbard for a beauty salon on Fifth Avenue. She invested in the salon and continued it under the name of Elizabeth Arden even after the partnership fell apart.

It was in 1914 that she made the effort to produce a fluffy face cream and an astringent lotion.  An advertising genius, she convinced a generation of women that they should open up their minds to beauty and cosmetics. She began selling her cosmetics internationally in 1915 and opened a Paris salon in 1922. The chain continued to grow, and there were 100 Elizabeth Arden beauty salons across the globe by the time of her death. Elizabeth advocated the idea of ageless beauty until the very end. As the sole owner of the brand, she was one of the wealthiest women in the world at the height of her success.. Her makeup techniques and scientific formulations were forerunners of modern cosmetics.

*Image Credit: https://capitalmag.ca/2015/07/22/lessons-elizabeth-arden/

Annie Malone

Annie Malone pioneered the African-American beauty and cosmetic industry. Her entrepreneurial legacy is finally getting the recognition it deserves and she deserves to be remembered as an icon. 

Developing hair products for black women in St. Louis is what established her business. She amassed a fortune and became a millionaire soon because she was catering to a demographic that had largely been ignored by beauty companies until then. She was a charitable person and financially supported the advancement of African-Americans. 

As a chemist, Annie was in charge of the products she created. She knew that African-American women’s hair needed special care and attention. Until then, most companies had either ignored these concerns or introduced damaging products. Annie successfully developed a product to straighten African-American hair. Soon she made a complete line of beauty and haircare products exclusively for black women. 

Annie had to adjust her business strategies based on the limitations placed on her because of her ethnicity. She could not access distribution channels directly and had to depend on door-to-door sales. As one of the most successful black women of her time, Annie strengthened her legacy by establishing Poro College, a cosmetologist school and training center, in 1918. 

*Image Credit: https://thetravelerweekly.com/2020/04/06/self-made-madame-c-j-walker-and-the-real-annie-malone-by-pam-adams/

Today’s Women in Beauty Trend Setters

These women are continuing to pave the way for woman in beauty

Deborah Carver

Deborah Carver is the iconic co-founder and CEO of Creative Age Publications. Deborah has been the driving force behind the success of publishing in the beauty and hair industry. She started in publishing in the early 1970s with the launch of Creative Age, which at the time focused on the medical and technical industries. She made her mark with publications such Emergency Medical Services, Dialysis & Transplantation and Nutritional Support Services

However, in 1990, Carver saw an opportunity in the beauty industry and began selling her medical titles to make room for the growth of Beauty brands under her publication umbrella. With that move, she cemented Creative Age as a leader in the beauty industry with titles such as, NAILPRO, Beauty Launchpad, DAYSPA, Beauty Store Business, MedEsthetics, The Colorist, MAN and Eye Lash. 

Over the years, Creative Age won 22 Maggie Awards, one ABBY, three Eddie and Ozzie Awards, 10 finalist certificates of excellence and an Intercoiffure Press Award. Additionally, Carver was named City of Hope’s 2018 Spirit of Life Award honoree for her dedicated fundraising efforts for cancer research and treatments.

Image Credit: https://elitebeautysociety.com/top-influential-women-in-the-beauty-industry/

Courtney Caldwell

Courtney Caldwell, the Co-founder & COO of ShearShare, is a prominent name in the beauty-tech sphere. ShearShareWe isare the largest provider of on-demand salon and barbershop space rentals allowing licensed professionals a lot of flexibility.  Courtney already had the experience of managing an award-winning salon, before which ultimately led to the birth of ShearShare. She also ran a boutique consulting firm to facilitate international sales and marketing strategies before that.

Courtney completed her MBA at The University of Texas in Dallas. Recently, she received an honorary doctorate degree from Miracle University. She was included in the Inc. magazine 2019 Female Founders 100 list and the 2018 Dallas Business Journal Women in Technology. She is the 33rd African-American female to collect $1 million in venture funding and the first African-American female to be given the SMU Cox School of Business

Outstanding Young Alumna title. In 2019, she was named the Ada Lovelace Female Tech Founder of the Year. Courtney’s experience in tech marketing, innovation, and leadership helped her take ShearShare down the path to success. 

A digital marketing expert genius, Courtney is the epitome of the modern woman entrepreneur. She volunteers with and serves as an Advisory member for various organizations.

Success Through Perseverance

In order to be a successful female entrepreneur, it is important to have a rebellious spirit. Fighting oppression and sexism to become successful requires a strength of spirit that all of these women possessed. We cannot emphasize enough how they pioneered the beauty and cosmetics industry. Today, we have a plethora of beauty and cosmetics brands available everywhere and we owe it to the women above and many others.