Monday, September 26, 2016

Growing up fast, driving fast cars and being the son of a Maybelline heir in the 1970's, was quite the hayday!

My sister Donna with Preston  in 1977

1966, my brother Preston turned 16. He lived with our dad, Bill Williams, at his estate in Palm Springs. Our dad, owned many exotic cars.  Any kid would be tempted to sneak the keys, invite a friend and take a spin through the winding streets of  Old Los Palmas. Since our handsome, man about town, dad, spent plenty of time, "doing his own thing," so to speak, my brother was hard pressed to keep his hands of daddy's cars.  Here is one of my favorite stories, written by Preston.

Dads 1971 Jag XKE V12, was quite fast.  I remember doing one of those joy rides, unbeknownst to Dad, who was at the condo in Newport Beach.  Tom and I had just driven out of the gates of Casa de Guillermo, turned right on to Patencio Road and then pulled onto the dirt shoulder side of the road, to test it's pony's.  I threw it into low drive and punched it!  It starting spinning it's wheels throwing dirt and all of a sudden grabbed a rock or something and jerked to the left.  The car did a complete 360 circle.  The long front end swung around like the hand of a clock and we both saw the wall next to us coming closer and closer as the front end swung around. Thank God the car missed it by the hair of my chiney chin chin, but needless to say that pretty much ended our fun for the day, as we both we freaked out after that!  But, tomorrow would come and I am sure we got into something else because I knew where the keys to all the cars were so, when dad was always an adventure! 

Written by William Preston Williams lll

Read more about Preston and his adventures in The Maybelline Story 

Lou Gehrig's disease
Also called: ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Man dropping dishes due to progressive muscle weakness.
A nervous system disease that weakens muscles and impacts physical function.

Sadly, my brother Preston, has recently been diagnosed with ALS disease. So far it has affected his voice and he has some weakness in his arms and legs. He fell because of a lazy foot and broke 4 toes a few days ago. ALS, is a hideous disease with no answer as to why it attacks.  If any of you know people with ALS, post on my blog. I would love some information and encouragement.  Remember the Ice Bucket Challenge. It raised money for a cure check it out

Monday, September 19, 2016

FOREWORD by Legendary Publicist, Michael A. Levine

“A woman’s most powerful possession is a man’s imagination.”

Tom Lyle Williams, 1934

I think every girl I ever dated as a teenager had one of those pink and green tubes of Maybelline Great Lash mascara stashed in her purse.  How on earth would I know this?  Because the contents of all those purses regularly spilled out of school lockers, behind bleachers, under the seats of cars….  If they weren’t scrambling to hide their other feminine products, then they were diving for the mascara because THAT wasclearly the key to their enchanting doe-eyed beauty. 

As I’ve grown older, gotten married, divorced, and dated all over again, I’ve seen the contents of many beautiful women’s cosmetic bags.  And there has always been a Maybelline product inside.

I recognize things like this because I’m a brand man myself.  At an early age I discovered the power of perception…specifically, the perception of value, which can be even more important than price itself.  For example, the Tiffany brand is indomitable because one need only see the powder-blue box and white satin ribbon to think that whatever is inside is premium simply because it comes from Tiffany.

So I was delighted when I was asked to read The Maybelline Story and learn about the origins and growth of this modest company into the best-known eye beauty brand around the world.  What a story it is!

From humble beginnings in rural Kentucky to gangster-ridden Prohibition Chicago, to Hollywood in the ‘30s and ‘40s, pin-ups, the Pentagon, and eventually, the whole world, this is a classic tale of a makeshift product that developed out of one woman’s innovative need to fix something else, and her brother’s prescient understanding that she was onto something BIG!

In 1915, Mabel Williams singed her eyelashes and brows while cooking.  Horrified that she no longer looked feminine, she concocted a mixture and applied it to her remaining lashes and brows, giving her some added sparkle and sheen.  One of her brothers, Tom Lyle Williams, noticed the successful effect.

But he also noticed something more profound: a woman’s eyes were her calling card.  “Come look at me.”  “Coax me out of my bashfulness.”  “Yes, I’m flirting.”  “I’m interested in you.”  He appreciated beauty in all women, and their beauty spoke to him straight through their eyes.  Tom Lyle wanted to reproduce his sister’s “formula” to see whether regular women would pay a little to “up” the glamour in themselves.

All he needed was $500 and a rudimentary chemistry set to give his idea a real try.  But gathering $500 in 1915 wasn’t easy.  So when his brother Noel offered to loan him the money, he promised to repay him in full.  Little did any of them realize then that Noel would receive a return on his investment similar to the original investors in Microsoft or Apple!

For over a half century, Maybelline operated as a private company owned by the Williams family.  What Tom Lyle, his brother and sister started as a small, mail-order business eventually became an internationally recognized brand purchased 82 years later by French conglomerate L’Oreal for over 700 million.

I can tell you: it’s one thing to recognize a winning product discovered by accident, and quite another to turn it into an empire that, for decades, transcended all competition and remains an icon to this day.

How does one do that?  Precisely by branding.  By taking an exceptional product and equating it with excellence in every way.  By having a constant, relentless drive to promote a desirable image through that product.  By turning that product into the sine qua non of, in this case, eye beauty. 

Tom Lyle Williams packaged and sold artifice – the importance of beautiful eyes.  He made eye beauty the singular defining quality of a beautiful woman, and he branded Maybelline as representative of perfect beauty.  His genius was in convincing millions of women the world over to buy Maybelline with the absolute conviction that using Maybelline eye products would truly make them perfectly beautiful.

Unlike most folks in Hollywood, this unlikeliest of legends kept a low personal profile and let his creativity speak through his work.  In my opinion, Tom Lyle Williams can teach us more about branding than Colonel Sanders, Calvin Klein, and Coco Chanel combined.  He was first to enlist movie stars to promote his products.  One of the first companies to promote corporate social responsibility by supporting war bonds.  First to take advantage of advertising on broadcast television.  First to employ market research.  And first to truly understand the buying power of women.

Surely such a creative man must have had a muse…perhaps some woman he thought the ideal version of his own vision of beauty?  Indeed!  While he named the company for his sister, his muse was actually his sister-in-law, Evelyn.  She was gorgeous, smart, and often too smart for her own good.

The drama of this family-business-story, as with many such sagas, lies in deciphering where the family and the business intersected, frequently came to loggerheads, and sometimes went to court.  Secrets existed, lies were told, and facades masqueraded as truth – often to protect the family from itself, and always to protect Maybelline above all else. 

Edison made light bulbs.  Ford manufactured cars.  Here’s another great American rags-to-riches story.  This time the name is Williams.  The cash cow wore mascara and Maybelline. 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Entrepreneur's starting a business venture? Need inspiration? Read this guy's take on my book

Please be sure to click the link to BOWEN's article at the end, to validate my saying "Kudos" to Sharrie for featuring Jane, of/for Elle; it is a great OP for Jane's excellent recounting of the allure of femme fatale eyes. (So often over the years, Guys (maybe Gals) may have looked, but haven't seen!) OK, in terms of "Full Disclosure", I'm a male who was fascinated watching my late Vieja each early AM, take the extra time (for me???) while excellently penciling her brows, "sponging" on a light-blue-hued eye shadow, and using an Inquisition-like thingy to tweak/curl her lashes.

Be that as it may, "Maybelline...", The Book, is a must read....not for make-up techniques/tips, but for the nitty-gritty-grind of her "Great-Uncle" and Family in kindling the Allure of Eyes (surely helping to continue the propagation of the races as well as a bit of the economy...) "Maybelline..." is 'a page turner' as they say. Sharrie and Youngs have not typed out a boring history, but find ways to twist and infuse Reality...trip you off guard...with splashes of humor as well. It is especially an inspiration for Chicas, or Guys for that matter, who are starting out in any kind of business venture or even/especially encountering a low point!

Whether you are a pragmatist or into soapy stuff, it's the makings of TV series, IMHO. (Oh Oh! One can't but help to wonder, what casting Sharrie, as well as readers, might envision? LOL...Ya ya, Rob Lowe as Tom Lyle, but I'm thinking with a little "younging" touch-up, that Harrison Ford's twinkle in his eye, could beat any!?!?) 

Monday, September 5, 2016

Eye Makeup Trends by Decade: The Shadow, Mascara, and More That Ruled the Last 100 Years And the chic women who wore them.

Elle Magazine, Article by Jane Brown, September 1

The Icons: Mary Pickford, Bette Davis, and the Gibson Girl
Maybelline's namesake, Mabel 
Williams, 1915

The 1910s: A Sheer Wash of Color or Totally Bare  

Backstory: Makeup had its challenges at the turn of the century. It wasn't widely available:

 Mascara wasn't even invented until 1915, when Maybelline debuted a dry cake version that required water to turn into a paste-like consistency. The women who dared to wear it had to covertly shop at the equivalent of a speakeasy or go to one of the few apothecaries that custom-blended concoctions. It was far from convenient, and the only women wearing it regularly were screen stars and ladies of the night.
This was a decade of demure fashion and behavior, one in which ladies avoided even the slightest bit of sun (tans were considered as trashy as obvious makeup). Women who wore any color usually stuck with just a bit of blush on the cheeks and lips, and the bold few who put makeup on their eyes dabbed just a sheer wash of gray, brown, or yellow-colored paste on their lids.

click on the link below for the entire article in Elle Magazine by Jane Brown
 A lot changes in 100 years, including the space on and around women's eyes. From the first part of the 20th century to now, trends have ping-ponged between extremes ('80s makeup is still inspiring Halloween costumes, while the more demure decades were characterized by an almost nonexistent application). Not a centenarian yourself? See what you missed by clicking through.