On the eve of New Year, 1885, in Woodbridge was born one of the most successful business personas of the world. Florence Nightingale Graham, who shook the pillars of patriarchal, male dominated segment of society and proved to the world that any woman can excel and perform as well as any man, if given the opportunity to perform. Florence a Canadian by origin established a Pan-American cosmetics empire, Elizabeth Arden. A name she later adopted informally as a business pseudonym.
Named after The Lady With The Lamp, Florence Nightingale, Elizabeth Arden was also sent to a nursing school by her Scottish father. However nursing was not her cup of tea or should I say she was not interested in nursing. She was a woman with aspirations to make it big in this world where women are made to live miniature lives, that no one takes notice.
She dropped out of nursing school and moved to New York and started working as a bookkeeper for a popular pharmaceutical company. She learned a lot about skincare here in this lab and moved on to join Eleanor Adair’s salon as a beauty culturist or a treatment girl. In 1909 she joined hands with Elizabeth Hubbard to set up a new “Beauty Culture” salon. Though the partnership dissolved Florence learned some essential business skills and of course the name she chose for her new company; ‘Elizabeth Arden’, her previous partner’s first name and Alfred Tennyson’s fictional character, ‘Enoch Arden’.
Arden learned different beauty techniques from French beauticians and returned to America with many new concepts. The concepts of ‘Makeover’, foundations to match every skin tone, the Venetian Cream Amoretta and Arden Skin Tonic were some products that were very popular and bestsellers of their age. Elizabeth Arden was the first entrepreneur to advertise her cosmetic products in movie house commercial. The marketing technique that is so popular now-a-days was applauded. The demand for Elizabeth Arden cosmetic products was much greater than the supply.
Elizabeth Arden never disappointed Opportunity, Even during the desperation and depression of Second World War, she found a way to sell her products to the masses. Her products were not only designed for the elites but also for the common women. Her wartime product the Montezuma Red lipstick is one of her most popular cosmetic products. There came time when there were only three American names that were known throughout the Earth: Coca Cola, Singer sewing machines and Elizabeth Arden. Her products were bought even in remote areas like Tibet.
Queen Mary of Teck, Queen Elizabeth, Marilyn Monroe, Joan Crawford and Jacqueline Kennedy are some of the names on Elizabeth Arden’s prized customers list. Elizabeth Arden died in New York in 1966 and lies buried in the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.
Today her company is run by FFI. Green Tea Perfume for women, the Red Door perfume for women are some of the most popular products from Elizabeth Arden beside the wide array of foundations, moisturisers and lipsticks. Blue grass, the perfume that Elizabeth Arden launched in 1934 is still available in the market. Catherine Zeta Zones is the present face of Elizabeth Arden Cosmetics, Inc..