Pretty much everyone knows about the famous makeup brand L’Oreal Paris. What most people don’t know however is that it was originally started by a woman. You heard me. The $45 Billion company was the genius idea of one smart woman. Liliane Bettencourt is the woman behind the world renown cosmetic company. Although she didn’t originally found the company, she brought it to where it is today. The company was originally founded by her father, pharmacist Eugène Schueller. Liliane was his only child and after he passed, she took over the reigns of the company and turned it into the billion dollar industry it is today. But how did she do it? Curious to find out how it all started? Well, here it is!
Liliane Bettencourt was born in 1922. She was the only daughter of Eugène Schueller, founder of L’Oreal. When Liliane was 15, she started working for her father’s company as an apprentice. In 1957, after her father passed, Liliane took over the company. She became the principal shareholder of the company. In 1963, the company went public. Liliane however was still the major shareholder of the company.
The Start of L’Oreal
As previously mentioned, L’Oreal was founded by pharmacist Eugène Schueller in 1909. It all began when Schueller started developing a hair dye formula. He eventually started selling his product to hairdressers and registered the company soon after. In 1920, the company employed 3 chemists to further develop the products. By 1950, the company already had 100 employees.
A Leading Company in its industry
After Schueller passed in 1957, his daughter Liliane took over the company. Even though the company went public in 1963, Liliane was still the major shareholder. She decided to broaden the products of L’Oreal and introduced other beauty products such as makeup, skincare and shampoo. Strategic marketing, innovative thinking and smart acquisitions quickly made L’Oreal as one of the leading companies in the cosmetic industry. Currently, L’Oreal markets over 500 brands and thousands of individual products in a variety of beauty sectors.
A Billion Dollar Company
Through smart acquisitions and innovative products, L’Oreal is continuing to rise. It’s quickly become as one of the richest cosmetic companies in the world. Liliane Bettencourt who took over the company from her father has become the richest woman in the world due to her owning the majority shares of the company. However, it wasn’t all that easy for her. She had to make some though decisions and smart thinking to bring the company to the level that it is today.
Bettencourt took several risks when she decided to expand the company into new industries and luckily for her, it paid off. She also took several risks by acquiring companies that she wasn’t sure would pay off. And off course when she made the difficult decision of selling some of her shares to Nestle in 1974 out of fear that the French state would intervene in the company following political movements in France at that time. Luckily for her, it all turned out well at the end.
Being the head of a billion dollar company is not as easy as it seems. As Bettencourt showed through her career, there are moments when you have to make hard decisions. It’s all about quick thinking and making smart strategic decisions.
Being a #BossGirl is all about taking risks. Sometimes they pay off and sometimes they don’t. But when they do, it’s all that much worth it!