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Elizabeth Arden LeadershipElizabeth Arden leadership


Elizabeth Arden (1884-1966)


Canadian-born American cosmetics tycoon (pictured right) and rival of Estée Lauder and Helena Rubinstein.


What made her successful?


1. Selling dreams

Arden aimed to sell “youth and beauty” to women through her cosmetics.

So she taught women how to apply make-up and pioneered such ideas as

  • scientific formulation of cosmetics.
  • beauty makeovers.
  • co-ordinating colours of eye, lip and facial make-up.

She was also largely responsible for establishing make-up as essential for a beautiful, ladylike image for the rich, when previously it had been associated with the lower classes and prostitutes.

“Every woman has the right to be beautiful”, she said.


2. Customer loyalty

She made products that women liked and repeatedly bought.

“Repetition makes reputation and reputation makes customers”, she said.


3. Target market

She aimed at middle aged, plain women for whom her products promised youth and beauty.


4. Quality and exclusivity

Her cosmetics were top quality with an exclusive image, so that she could charge high (or premium) prices.

 Elizaberh Arden Leadership

5. Great employees

She only wanted people who could “do the impossible”, she said.

Her first American husband gave her help with the business and American citizenship.

But they divorced in 1935, and he went to work for Helena Rubinstein (pictured right), Arden’s great rival!

Her second and last marriage (1942-4) also ended in divorce.

“I pick good women, but I haven’t had any luck with my men”, she joked.


6. Hard work and single-mindedness

She wanted to be number one in cosmetics and worked incredibly hard to achieve it.

She removed anything in her path that stopped her including her husbands!

 Elizabeth Arden Leadership

7. Relaxation

Arden (pictured right) worked hard but played hard, enjoying the luxurious lifestyle her wealth gave her.

She loved expensive clothes (one of her trademarks was to always dress in pink) and owning racehorses, winning the Kentucky Derby in 1947.


8. Tough and self-confident

She pushed her employees very hard, only wanting people “who can do the impossible” and telling them what to do.

She constantly reminded them that she was the boss.


9. Spirit and enthusiasm

She loved the cosmetics business, and never lost her youthful enthusiasm for it.

Age didn’t matter to her, because “you’re as old as you feel”, she said.

 Elizabeth Arden Leadership

10. Going global

Arden (pictured right) wasn’t content with being only successful in the country of her birth, Canada.

She moved to New York where she opened a beauty salon in 1909. Another followed in France in 1922, so opening up the European market.

The business later spread to Australia and South America.


Key quote on pricing

Nothing that costs only a dollar is worth having


Key quote on women

Every woman has the right to be beautiful.


Key quote on age

You’re as old as you feel.


Key quote on customers

Repetition makes reputation and reputation makes customers

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