My favorite Estee Lauder quotes

On this day 10 years ago, an industry icon, a woman I would have loved to meet, passed away. I think about Estee Lauder (the woman, the business, the brand(s)) often, but even more today. In many ways, she is to me the personification of the American dream – creating a multi-billion dollar beauty empire with her family. She changed the lives of millions of women, and her products continue to do so today.

Over the years, I have saved article clippings about her, and have read and re-read her autobiography. Here are some of the lessons, quotes, and “Lauderisms” I love the most.

On hard work

“I didn’t get there by wishing for it or hoping for it, but by  working for it.”

“I have never worked a day in my life without selling. If I believe in something, I sell it, and I sell it hard.”

“It’s one thing becoming successful, but it’s hard to stay that way. Who helped me? I helped myself. I have done every job in the company.”

On selling beauty products

“If you put the product into the customer’s hands, it will speak for itself  if it’s something of quality.”

“Whether you are the chairperson of the board or want to charm him, you need beauty and femininity as well as wisdom and strength.”

“If you don’t sell, it’s not the product  that’s wrong, it’s you.”

“Touch a face. Touch a hand. Say, ‘This is for you, this is what I want you to wear.’”

“To sell a cream, you sold a dream in the early days.”

On business strategies

“Keep an eye on the competition: … but this doesn’t mean copying them.”

“Trust your instincts: my first reaction is almost invariably the right one.”

“Learn to say no: … executives much learn to say no to inferior products and ideas; no to those who seem to be making a mistake.”

“Write things down: your mother probably told you this. She’s right.”

“Hire the best people: you can be the direct of the company but you can’t be there to direct all the time.”

“Train the best sales force.”

“Give credit where credit is due: simply said, if you want loyalty and best effort, you must be thoughtful.”

And perhaps my favorite of all time: “Act tough: what other call tough, I call persistent.”

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