The beauty industry has never lacked successful female entrepreneurs throughout the years. In the early 1910s, Florence Nightingale Graham founded Elizabeth Arden, before going on to build a beauty salon and cosmetics empire that made her one of the wealthiest women of the time. Till this day, Elizabeth Arden continues to operate with a yearly revenue of just under US$1 billion.
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Over the next few decades, there were many other ambitious women who followed in her footsteps, including Josephine Esther Mentzer, who founded Estée Lauder, in 1946 as well as Mary Kay Ash who founded Mary Kay where salespeople sold products to customers directly via a multi-level marketing model in the early 1960s.
Since then, the beauty industry has grown exponentially. Along with the ageing of population in developed countries and as e-commerce continues to grow, beauty brands are presented with new opportunities to engage their customers and grow their businesses. According to an industry forecast done by Orbis Research, the global cosmetic industry was valued at over US$532 billion in 2017, and is expected to be worth over US$805 billion by 2023. Plus, with the continued growth of emerging markets in Middle East, Africa and Asia, it is inevitable that the connotations and expectations associated with beauty products and services continue to shift and evolve.
Here, the most prominent female beauty entrepreneurs who have been, and continue to be, successful in adapting to and evolving with the ever-changing needs of their modern-day customers: