Sharrie Williams, author of The Maybelline Story, is an original descendant of the Maybelline family. Her Great uncle, Tom Lyle Williams, founded the Maybelline Co in 1915 and sold it in 1967. Sharrie shares her families photos, stories and vintage Maybelline ads.
Maybelline stayed at the top of it's game during the Great Depression: How did they do it?
The Maybelline Company, 1934
Excerpt from The Maybelline Story and the Spirited Family Dynasty Behind It.
Although Tom Lyle knew that much of the company's success was due to
his own daring eye for advertising combined with Emery and Arnold’s
exceptional talents, he also knew that without Rags, Maybelline would
simply not have been able to stay constantly at the top of the
fast-growing cosmetics market.
his efforts, Rags was paid solely on a commission of one and
one-quarter percent of gross sales, which had risen from $359,000 at the
time of his employment in 1933 to its 1955 level of over $7,000,000 a
year. Knowing that this tremendous rise in sales was directly due to
Rags relentless work and devotion to the company, Tom Lyle decided to
not only raise Rags' commission to one and one-half percent, but give
him three percent of Maybelline’s stock. To seal the deal, Rags would
also be made Executive Vice President in charge of Sales, positioning
him as an equal with Tom Lyle and Tom Lyle, Jr. --in other words, as
With Rags securely placed as a jewel in Maybelline’s crown, Tom Lyle
could direct his next move on the cosmetics chessboard. Although he
continued to target both the sophisticated, intelligent woman in her 30s
and the more mature woman in his world-wide advertisements, as 1955
continued a new brand of female was emerging. This girl differed from
both the World War II pin-up girl and Rosie the Riveter.
Thanks to movies like East of Eden staring James Dean, and Blackboard Jungle, featuring the song “Rock Around the Clock” by Bill Haley and the Comets, “The Rebel"had
become the latest cultural icon. Maybelline sales soared as heavy
make-up appeared in every teenage girl's purse. The era of teen
marketing was born in Jacksonville, Florida, that year, when young girls
jumped out of their seats to dance at an Elvis Presley concert--the first first musical riot on record. Read all about it in The Maybelline Story, you'll be entertained from page one.