The niece of a Hungarian chemist, Estée was trained in the art of
face creams at an early age.

What’s In A Name?

Josephine Esther Mentzer was born in New York City. Her parents, Rose Schotz, a Hungarian beauty, and Max Mentzer, a Czechoslovakian businessman who carried a cane and gloves on Sunday, called her Esty, which was changed to Estée when she enrolled in school. The name stuck, but one early detail was never officially pinned down: her birth date. “You ask my age? I tell you it simply doesn’t matter,” she’d famously say to dodge the question. “Glow,” after all—not a number—was the real essence of beauty, she believed.

Good Genes

“The first beauty I ever recognized was my mother,” said Estée. Some of her earliest memories were of her mother’s grooming ritual, which revolved around applying rich creams to her face and hands to keep her skin soft and smooth. “Hands [are] as telling as any written pedigree,” Rose would tell her impressionable daughter.

Stage Gem

Estée toyed with becoming an actress, as she believed that “actresses were the epitome of beauty.” She even appeared on stage at New York’s Cherry Lane Theater a few years after she had her first son, Leonard, who would sit in the back of the theater and watch as she rehearsed. But in the end, acting didn’t satisfy her the way whipping up skincare solutions did. “I wanted to see my name in lights, but I was willing to settle for my name on a jar.”


While her father owned a hardware store where Estée would arrange window displays, she was more interested in taking after her uncle John Schotz, a chemist. He had taught her to cleanse her skin with oils rather than harsh soaps, and to mix up batches of his unique, all-around skin cream. “It was a preciously velvety cream, this potion, one that magically made you sweetly scented, made your face feel like spun silk, made any passing imperfections be gone by evening,” Estée recalled, and she soon dubbed it the Super-Rich All Purpose Creme. It was her first glimpse at something that provided “the power to create beauty.”

Young Love

During a summer spent on Mohegan Lake in New York, Estée met “her first beau,” Joseph Lauter. Later, Joe changed his surname to Lauder, correcting a misspelling that had occurred when his father emigrated from Austria to the United States. The pair married in 1930 and soon moved to Manhattan. For her wedding, Estée carried pure white calla lilies and wore a satin gown with what she called “the world’s longest train.” And for the first time in her life—but certainly not the last—she applied a touch of lipstick.



Culture & Values

Our culture is often described as a rare mix of family values with a high-performing public company. This unique mix translates into a caring, collaborative and compassionate workplace that is also demanding – with a competitive spirit that is a powerful source of motivation. Above all else, there is a focus on long-term, sustainable growth which engenders loyalty and commitment from internal and external stakeholders.

“The company operates like a family,” says Fabrizio Freda, President & CEO. “Families are, in fact the most caring and demanding of environments. Our culture is a unique combination of nurturing and challenging, respectful of our roots and inspired to envision the future.”

Our culture is respectful of our roots and inspired to envision the future.

Our Values

We are a values-driven organization. Our actions are rooted in the Lauder Family values of respect for the individual, uncompromising ethics and integrity, generosity of spirit and fearless persistence. Building on these core values we also abide by the following principles:

  • Unwavering commitment to quality and excellence. From exceptional and breakthrough products to High-Touch services and experiences delivered by our prestige brands.
  • Infusing creativity and innovation throughout all aspects of the business, from product development to packaging, sampling to selling, marketing to merchandising.
  • Nurturing and developing world-class talent. We look for ways to identify and harness the strengths of our talented employees. Continuous learning happens throughout the organization and “leadership from every chair” is expected and encouraged.
  • Cultivating an inclusive and diverse workplace reflects our belief that no one person, group or culture has all the knowledge, skills or information necessary for success. Embracing diversity helps sharpen our focus on cultural relevance — ensuring that our products, messaging and in-store experiences reflect the aspirations and desires of consumers in local markets.
  • Acting responsibly and caring for the communities we serve translates into sustainable sourcing practices, efficient operations, green chemistry and bringing awareness and resources to global causes around health, the environment and education.

High-Touch Approach

The Estée Lauder Companies has always used the best ingredients and the latest technology to create superior products. But we also have a secret ingredient that truly distinguishes us: our ‘High-Touch’ approach that guides us to deliver outstanding personalized service and education to our consumers.

With High-Touch we create strong emotional bonds with consumers: the unmatched quality of our products, combined with the expert advice of our beauty consultants and outstanding personalized service, creates a total package of priceless value that goes far beyond product, price and science. It’s a total experience that sets our prestige brands apart.
This modern-day concept of personalizing the consumer’s experience was introduced by our founder, Estée Lauder, over 60 years ago. She was passionate in her belief that women should touch and experience her products first hand. She took to the selling floor to personally introduce them to her skin care and makeup knowing instinctively that her personal interaction, instruction and connection would create a lasting bond.


Our founder was an innovator in the beauty industry not only with the breakthrough products she created, but with her unique approach to connecting with women.

Estée Lauder’s revolutionary marketing ideas and fearless spirit continue to serve as our greatest inspiration. Today, we continually strive to create High-Touch innovations to meet our consumers’ changing needs, particularly as shopping habits have evolved. In the digital age, High-Touch has gone high-tech, moving beyond the selling floor to online and digital platforms. We are connecting with our consumers online through e-commerce and social media —reaching them where they are and how they prefer to shop.