14.12

Chapter 12: a beauty empire

To combat the recession after the Second World War, the Roosevelt government decided to add tax to luxury products. This was bad news for all the women who wanted to look like the leading actresses of the time. The glamorous looks of Marlène Dietrich and Greta Garbo inspired millions of American women.

New habits

Even in times of crisis, the consumption of beauty products continued to rise. While women were no longer buying themselves designer dresses, they could still afford buy a lipstick. Treating oneself became less obvious, but just as important. Everyone raced to Macy's and Saks during their lunch hours, taking inspiration from the magazines at the time. Helena Rubinstein would profit from this frenzy by redefining her Marketing strategy and increasing sales.

Constantly innovating

To keep the brand's image, the pioneer knew that a chic address was essential. She bought a building at 715 Fifth Avenue: giving her huge publicity that she would make the most out of. From interior design to the store's facade, every aspect was meticulously thought-out. She needed all of New York to be talking about her salon, so it was the most luxurious ever opened by the entrepreneur. Each of the three floors reflected Madam's taste. It was for the opening of this exceptional salon that Helena Rubinstein launched her "Day of Beauty" concept, during which clients were pampered from morning to evening by a team of expert physiotherapists, hair stylists, makeup artists and beauticians.

For Helena Rubinstein, the recipe for success was a real barrier to her competitors, whose numbers were growing in the beauty industry. But the avant-garde entrepreneur still had some innovations up her sleeve.

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