Florence Nightingale Graham
Florence Nightingale Graham, who went by the business name Elizabeth Arden, was a Canadian businesswoman who built a cosmetics empire in the United States.
In 1909 Arden formed a partnership with Elizabeth Hubbard, another culturist. When the partnership dissolved, she coined the business name "Elizabeth Arden" from her former partner and from Tennyson's poem "Enoch Arden".
In 1912 Arden travelled to France to learn beauty and facial massage techniques used in the Paris beauty salons. She returned with a collection of rouges and tinted powders she had created. In an era when it was generally only acceptable for entertainers to wear makeup, Arden introduced modern eye makeup to North America. She also introduced the concept of the "makeover" in her salons.
Arden collaborated with A. Fabian Swanson, a chemist, to create a "fluffy" face cream. The success of the cream, Venetian Cream Amoretta, and corresponding lotion, Arden Skin Tonic, led to a long-lasting business relationship. This revolutionized cosmetics, bringing a scientific approach to formulations. Other innovations included creating foundations that matched a person's skin tone; creating the idea of the "Total Look" in which lip, cheek, and fingernail colors matched or coordinated; and the first to make a cosmetics commercial shown in movie houses.
During World War II, Arden recognized the changing needs of the American woman entering the work force. She showed women how to apply makeup and dress appropriately for careers outside the home. She created a lipstick called Montezuma Red, for the women in the armed forces that would match the red on their uniforms.
She began expanding her international operations in 1915, and started opening salons across the world. By the end of 1930s, it was said that "There are only three American names that are known in every single corner of the globe: Singer sewing machines, Coca Cola, and Elizabeth Arden." A fact proved by Heinrich Harrer in his book Seven Years in Tibet, where he stated that it's possible to buy Arden's products—even in Tibet. At the peak of her career, she had a salon in New York, Washington, Boston, Chicago, Beverly Hills, San Francisco, Maine, Arizona, Phoenix, Southhampton, Surfside, Florida, Palm Beach, Philadelphia, Honolulu, Lima. Toronto, Montreal, Melbourne, Sydney, Hong Kong, Singapore, Johannesburg, London, Paris, Zurich, Vienna, Milan, Rome, Cannes, Madrid, Brussels, Copenhagen, The Hague, London, Ontario, Cape Town, Nassau, Tulsa, Quebec City, and Biarritz. She launched all of them personally and she owned all of them except the one in Paris, which she gave to her sister, Gladys, Vicomtesse de Maublanc.
From the 1930s through the 1960s, Elizabeth Arden was considered the most upscale cosmetic brand. The introduction of the perfume Blue Grass in 1934 was a great success. Considered the first all-American scent, it remains on the market today.
Arden named her exclusive Long Pond resort and health spa Maine Chance which catered to her wealthy clientele. At one time the Mt. Vernon, Maine resort and its operating farm produced much of the food for the spa and was a significant employer in the town.
Arden died in New York City in 1966 and was interred in the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Sleepy Hollow, New York under the name Elizabeth N. Graham.
At the time of her death, her estate was worth $30 to $40 million (US) and she had over a hundred salons worldwide. A feature-length documentary film The Powder and the Glory (2009) by Ann Carol Grossman and Arnie Reisman, details the rivalry between Arden and Helena Rubenstein.
Her company was sold to Eli Lilly and Company in 1971 for $38 million. Eli Lilly and Company sold Arden to Fabergé in 1987 for $657 million.
Elizabeth Arden's cosmetics company continues to trade today, and was bought from in 2003 by FFI for $225 million, a New York company. They changed their name to Elizabeth Arden, and are publicly listed (NASDAQ: RDEN). The past 'face' of Elizabeth Arden was Swedish supermodel Vendela Kirsebom during the late-1980s to the mid-1990s. The current 'face' of Elizabeth Arden is Catherine Zeta Jones.
The company continues to offer color coordinated make-up sets, as well as an extensive line of skin care products and treatments.
Since Arden's death, some of the company's focus has shifted to the development of a number of fragrance lines. The company's signature fragrance is called "Red Door" named after their day spas which are called "Elizabeth Arden Red Door Salons". In 2006 Elizabeth Arden acquired the fragrance portfolio from Riviera Concepts. The newly acquired brands include Alfred Sung, the Hummer fragrance franchise, Cynthia Rowley, Lulu Guinness, Bob Mackie, and Badgley Mischka.
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