Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Queen of Beauty

Helena Rubinstein was 23 years old when she emigrated to Coleraine, Victoria, Australia. Born in Cracow in December 1870, Rubinstein was the eldest of eight daughters. She was educated in business by her father and in beauty by her mother. After trying medical school, Rubinstein chose to go and live with her uncle in Australia.

Arriving in Australia and noticing the sun-roughened faces of the women, Rubinstein put her business know-how to work. Having brought with her from Europe a dozen jars of special face cream, Rubinstein  sold what she had and began importing more. Eventually, Rubinstein started producing her own cream--first with the original formula and then innovating and diversifying her product line.

Rubinstein was dedicated to her business. As her brand expanded, she moved back to Europe after arranging for her sister Ceska to oversee the Australian operations.  Rubinstein opened a salon first in London and then in Paris. At the outbreak of World War I, Rubinstein moved to New York

In America, Rubinstein competed against Elizabeth Arden to be the cosmetic queen. Her genius was in understanding what women wanted and believing firmly in the importance of beauty. In 1928, Rubinstein sold her cosmetics empire to Lehman Brothers. However, she was quickly disappointed with how they ran the business and, a few years later) following the stock market crash (bought it back for a fraction of the price.  During her second ownership, the company once again flourished, and her special offer of “a Day of Beauty” at Helena Rubinstein salons became wildly popular around the world.

Rubinstein was a strong supporter of Israel and funded the Helena Rubinstein Pavilion for Contemporary Art at the Tel Aviv Museum.

Rubinstein, who encouraged women to refrain from smoking and drinking and advocated on behalf of proper eating and exercise, lived until age 94. On April 1, 1965, she passed away from natural causes.

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