Friday, September 11, 2020

"How Stuff is Made" @Refinery 29 Great Lash Mascara by Maybelline a cult favorite for over 46 years




                                 "GREAT LASH" Mascara





Maybelline debuted its "Great Lash Mascara" in 1971. It is still recognized by it's
 Pink and Green Chartreuse packaging inspired by Lilly Pulitzer's vibrant hues and
 prints. It's been a staple on drugstores shelves and in cosmetic bags ever since.
 It has been reported that a "Great Lash Maybelline Mascara," is sold every
1.2 seconds. 


Called the protein Mascara "Great Lash" builds rich, full body onto lashes.
 Marketing people asked Maybelline Company researchers in 1970,  to come up
 with a Mascara to thicken and lengthen lashes better than anything on the market
 and would be easy to apply.  "Great Lash" was that product. 
            

Surveys taken by Maybelline's marketing team at the time indicated consumers
 didn't consider Maybelline products fashionable, still using the original "Eye" logo.  Updating product colors changed customer perceptions. Especially the teen market


The Lilly Pulitzer Brand was popular with high society. Because Pulitzer was close
 friends with Jackie Kennedy, her designs crowned her "The Queen of Prep." And,
 "Flower Power."



From the inspiration and dedication of Tom Lyle Williams to the the Merchandiser
of Maybelline's new owners,  Schering Plough in 1971, Maybelline's "Great Lash"
has remained an all time favorite Mascara for the last 46 years. 

Thursday, September 3, 2020

It all began with the "eyes." In the book, The Maybelline Story, by Sharrie Williams

 


She tells the fascinating account of the early beginnings of her family in rural Kentucky, from 1911, to their glory days in Hollywood with Joan Crawford appearing in Maybelline print ads in the late 1940's, to the 1970's as fortune affected the family.

Maybelline Mascara Super Model Joan Crawford taken in 1946.  Photograped by Paul Hesse, Hollywood.





By 1953, the cosmetics company was known throughout the world for their print ads of gorgeous flirty models catching everyone's attention with their Maybelline mascara eyes. Williams' great uncle is Tom Lyle Williams, a marketing genius who built a billion dollar cosmetics empire over many years from just $500. he borrowed from his older brother, Noel.


The Beginning of Maybelline Mascara


Tom Lyle loved movies. As a fifteen-year-old who ran the projector room at the local nickelodeon, he was mesmerized by starlet Mary Pickford's eyes, as she flirted with them in her movie, Sultan's GardenWhat made her so alluring? A very motivated, self-starter, Tom Lyle began finding out ways to make money by figuring out what people wanted.

He left the family farm in Morganfield, Kentucky, when he was still just a teenager, to join his brother, Noel, 23, who was working as a bookkeeper for Illinois Central Railroad in Chicago. The year was 1912. Chicago's population was 1.7 million. The brothers lived in Noel's boarding house near a slum of overcrowded tenement buildings.

It was in this environment that the brothers, driven by Tom Lyle's passionate courage, began a mail-order business. Tom Lyle sacrificed. He invested every penny he could scrape together. By 1914, at the age of 18, he was making serious money with his novelty-catalog business. In 1915, he had asked his sister, Mabel, to join them. He put her to work counting orders. The business was making $36,500. a year, which is the equivalent of over a half a million dollars today.


Mabel's Accident Births a Maybelline Mascara Fortune


Tom Lyle's sister insisted on cooking for her brothers. While Mabel was making cake frosting one morning by melting sugar in a pan, the liquid got too hot. Flames shot up and singed Mabel's eyebrows and eyelashes. She looked like a bare-faced mannequin. But, Mabel was not deterred, either. She had been secretly reading movie star magazines. She had read that these starlets, like Gloria Swanson, used a concoction called, "harem secret," to make their eyes beautiful.

Mabel mixed ash from cork she burned, with coal dust, and blended this mixture by using petroleum jelly. She dabbed this goo onto her eyebrows and the tips of her eyelashes. The transformation was amazing. Mabel's eyes were stunning. Then, an idea struck Tom Lyle like a bolt of lightening. Of course, it wasn't the clothes or smiles that made Hollywood goddesses glamorous. It was their "eyes." Mascara was born. The name Maybelline came from Mabel and the Vaseline mixture.


Miss Maybelline and Mascara's Destiny


By the time the 1920's came roaring into Chicago, women had claimed the right to vote, hold hands with men in public, smoke cigarettes, and a whole lot more. They took full advantage of their new-found freedom. Tom Lyle's entire family was in Chicago at this time, helping in the business of making Maybelline mascara. Tom Lyle's younger brother, Preston, incredibly handsome, a WWI hero, was watching a Memorial Day Parade when he and Evelyn Boecher spotted each other. Evelyn also spotted Tom Lyle.

"She fell in love with both brothers on the same day," says Sharrie Williams, of her grandmother, Evelyn Boucher. Evelyn was one of three daughters of John Boucher, a wealthy plumber, who spoiled his girls rotten. Always dressed in fine clothes, refined by music lessons, Evelyn, Bunny and Verona defined elegance. It was Evelyn, however, who became Tom Lyle's muse, and helped catapult Maybelline into the mascara cosmetics market. Sharrie relates in her book, The Maybelline Story: "Destiny arrived right on time, in the form of Evelyn Boucher."


Miss Maybelline Stops Traffic


Evelyn married Preston, but she continued to be the eyes and ears for Tom Lyle when it came to women and what they wanted. She contributed many ideas for the Maybelline mascara ads that put the company on the map around the world.

"Nana had very good insight, " says Sharrie. "She was an observer, a people-watcher. She loved to go to public places. She'd watch what women were wearing, what they talked about, laughed about. She would take it all in, then she would be able to condense this information and tell Tom Lyle. They would have dinner together and she would let him know - this is what women are looking for. This is what they want."

One day, Tom Lyle asked Evelyn to pick up some flyers from the printers, that he was going to mail to dime stores around the country. This was the time when Al Capone and other gangsters practically owned Chicago. Drive-by shootings and loud-mouthed gangsters were part of the city's fabric. Clutching an arm-load of flyers, Evelyn was almost to the Maybelline building when a car backfired. Everybody ducked, thinking it was gunshot. Evelyn jumped and threw her arms into the air, releasing the flyers, which were picked up by the wind.

An astute newspaper reporter snapped her photo. The next day, the newspaper printed Evelyn's photo with this title: "Miss Maybelline Stops Traffic." Orders for Maybelline mascara came pouring in. As Sharrie recalls, in her book, The Maybelline Story: "My uncle said to Nana: ' Evelyn, with that one photo you've accomplished more for marketing Maybelline than any flyer ever could."

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Maybelline's digital marketing strategy is a far cry from founder Tom Lyle Williams, early advertising

 When my great uncle, Tom Lyle Williams founded the Maybelline Company in 1915, he placed 1 1/2 inch ad in the Classified section of movie magazines, like "Photoplay," or the "Police Gazette".  He also had a radio show called the Maybelline Hour, where he did live shows, often with members of the Maybelline family. Eventually he placed full page, glossy print ads in magazines and was the first cosmetic company to place commercials on television.  Today Maybelline New York, uses digital marketing to focus people talking on their own social networks. However, Maybelline still uses Tom Lyle Williams original strategy of promoting beautiful images in his advertisements,  causing people to talk about it with their friends and family.

Tom Lyle Williams genius in the 1920's through the 1960's was contracting Hollywood's biggest Stars to represent Maybelline. He never used his own face or promoted himself, like every other cosmetic mogul in the industry did.  He did this to protect the Maybelline name and his family from public criticism, because he was gay and had a 50 year relationship with his lifetime partner, Emery Shaver. Today Maybelline's Celebrity partnerships to keep the talk going with their customers. 
For example, Maybelline's collaboration with supermodel Gigi Hadid continues to generate news in fashion media. In addition to being featured in the brand's advertising campaign, Hadid partnered with Maybelline on a makeup collection. The buzzworthy model also devoted her personal Instagram — with 40 million followers  to the new collection bearing her name.
Although Tom Lyle Williams used what ever resources available to him during his lifetime, he never had the opportunity to use the internet or social media in his marketing and advertising campaigns. Today Maybelline New York not only uses Celebrities in their internet and social media marketing and advertising, they also now partner with paid influencers, as well as 
everyday influencers — those friends, family and peers who have large social networks and enjoy sharing their opinions. It ships free product samples to consumers and invites them to share their experiences by posting reviews and product-related content on social platforms.
Just as Maybelline's original founder, Tom Lyle Williams, understood his target markets, Maybelline New York continues to motivate it's customers to spread the word by one on one talking on and offline

My blog post today was inspired by Brad Fay, chief strategy officer at Engagement Labs. read his article at 

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Maybelline Mascara or False Lashes, what's your cosmetic drug of choice

 






Maybelline Expert Eyes False Eyelashes 



Sharrie Williams, author of the Maybelline Story, made up with Maybelline Expert eyes False Eyelashes


Sharrie Williams wearing Maybelline False Eyelashes 1968

though I love how I look in false lashes, my cosmetic drug of choice is mascara

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Love this latest review of my book, The Maybelline Story. b Curmudgeon




In today's world of PC-GenderEquality, please let me note 2 views of...Males! (Eh! no aspersions are cast on the previous Commentators! We quite be InSync!) 

Alas as Y'all may know, Sharrie was not, at least outwardly, a shy girl, or Saffron as they were called at Culver City High, but one who was given to 'cruisin' with a bevy in her hot '57 Chevy in the Sixties. One regular stop for nutritional refueling/socializing was an Alpine themed hamburger place http://tinyurl.com/y8gc6cd8 with a new niche featuring D-i-Y sundae and burger condiment bars...ever put crushed nuts on a burger? Anyway, a former manager there happened to read The Mabelline Story and his ravings literally badgered me into reading this presumptively Girly-Girl life-drama "novel".

 Given I'm not much of a reader anymore, OMG this became one of my FAVs. If you be a male 'of an age', think of the cliffhanging "To-be-Continued", mostly cowboy, serials in Saturday afternoon theaters of your youth. For younger Dudes, think the same concept as used in Indian Jones' Raiders of the Lost Ark! Don't envision a dry-sandman that a family-bio might conjure up. My hunch is so many jumped to an erroneous presumption reading ads, they missed a great read.
 
Is there a sad part of my note? Yes: Sharrie has not published a fun read again/yet and e.g. Netflix hasn't picked up The Maybelline Story for one of their "Original" flicks or series. Elsewise, this should be on high school reading lists especially, tho not exclusively, for those Kids not planning on a college career....Go Horatio!

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Beautiful On His Own Terms: Maybelline Started In Chicago By LGBT Pioneer


May 30, 2017 5:14am | Updated May 30, 2017 5:14am
 Maybelline cosmetics was invented right here in Chicago by a man who, only after his death, would come to be known as the LGBT business pioneer that he was.
Maybelline Origins

EDGEWATER — New information offers to answer the age-old question: Was she born with it, or was it Maybelline?

As it turns out, the namesake of Maybelline makeup was indeed born with eyelashes and eyebrows — until she bleached them to the point of oblivion. 

The woman for whom the famous makeup brand is named, Edgewater resident Mabel Williams, accidentally over-bleached her lashes and brows one day, forcing her to make due with what she had: Vaseline and coal powder.

Her brother, Tom Lyle Williams, discovered his sister applying the concoction to her face in a way he'd only known Hollywood's most dazzling starlets to do.

Two years later, a cosmetics empire was born.

That's according to Sharrie Williams, the great-niece of Maybelline's founder Tom Lyle Williams and author of "The Maybelline Story And The Family Dynasty Behind It."

The author said there have been several versions of the brand's story circulated over the years, but Mabel's own daughter recently confirmed it was a serendipitous over-bleaching that led to the brand's invention.

The three-story building at 5900 N. Ridge Ave. that housed the company's headquarters for more than 50 years is still emblazoned with a cursive "M" above a street-facing entry. 

But Maybelline's Chicago roots, and Tom Williams' legacy as a pioneering — and fearfully closeted — gay entrepreneur have mostly been forgotten. 

With the help of Williams' book and a new exhibit featuring Maybelline's early days at the Edgewater Historical Society, the true story of her great-uncle and the family's history now is emerging.

Interest has piqued so much that Williams is also in talks with Sony Entertainment over a potential television series on Tom Williams' life, she said.

"It's just beginning to get a little bit of an understanding of who he was," she said. "He really wanted to stay hidden because of the shame that was put on him, and he didn't want it to reflect on the family."

"Only after he died, really, could his story be told."

Tom Lyle Williams and his sister Mabel, for whom the business was eventually named and who served as Tom's original inspiration. [Provided/Sharrie Williams]

'The most handsome man' and his makeup

After seeing his sister coloring in her brows and lashes after the accident, Tom Williams asked if there were any beauty products on the market that could perform the same function. 

Though skin creams, rouge and lipstick were all big sellers, eye makeup had to that point largely been ignored, he learned. 

With a friend and a chemistry set, in 1915 Williams created his first product: Lash-Brow-Ine.

Williams was sued for the Lash-Brow-Ine name and its likeness to similar products. In 1917, he changed the name to Maybelline, after his sister.

For a time his budding business was headquartered at 4750 N. Sheridan Road in Uptown, but it moved to 5900 N. Ridge Ave., where Williams developed the distinct black makeup "cakes" that would put him on the map.

Chicago in the 1910s and roaring 1920s was the perfect place and time to launch a business that made Hollywood's exuberance and glamour seem accessible to everyday women.

It also made it easier for Tom Williams, an eccentric man and sharp dresser who flaunted his money with custom cars, fabulous clothing and his own makeup, to be himself to some extent, his great-niece said. 

In a larger world that did not yet understand LGBT people, jazzy Chicago was a safe place to fit in. 

"In the '20s, it was flamboyant in general, with the speakeasies and all the crime going on and the front pages, it was just a lot of drama," Williams said. Tom Williams "was kind of known for wearing his own makeup, hats and llama skin coats.

"My grandmother, when she first met him, said he was the most handsome man she'd ever seen."

An original Maybelline cake tin. [Provided/Sharrie Williams]

"Everyone had to be in the closet"

Tom Williams' family grappled with his relationship with beau Emery Shaver. 

While some were accepting, others staunchly denied any allegations the cosmetics founder was in a loving union with another man.

Williams said her family always knew her great-uncle was "different" but lacked the context and societal acceptance to fully understand or come to terms with his sexuality. 

When the Great Depression hit and the era of glitz and grandeur began to fade, the Williams family had a more difficult time blending in. 

In 1934, Tom Williams had a custom car like one he'd seen at the The Chicago World's Fair delivered to Maybelline's Edgewater offices, infuriating the people starving and scrounging around them. 

Tom's flamboyancy in attire and attitude also put a target on his back during a time when the government was conducting nationwide "witch hunts" to keep gay men from influencing the public, in particular women, his great-niece said.

Tom Williams suddenly found himself in a dangerous place.

"There were not designers like there are today that were gay and out in the '20s and '30s — it just wasn't done," Williams said.

Eventually, he and Shaver picked up and headed West to California, where Tom Williams bought Rudolph Valentino's former home in Hollywood Hills.

There, among the Hollywood types he aspired to rub elbows with, Tom Williams could be with his love and had beautiful women to hide behind.

Iconic actresses like Betty Grable and Viola Dana became the faces of Maybelline. In a signed photo, Joan Crawford said it was the eye makeup she "would never be without."

Like countless other LGBT pioneers throughout history, Tom Williams is virtually unknown despite founding one of the world's most famous makeup brands.

"It's a story you don't hear about because everyone had to be in the closet," said Andrew Clayman, creator of the Made in Chicago Museum that contains original Maybelline products. "So the LGBT community doesn't really have these pioneers of industry, when really they were there, probably in the same percentage as anybody else."

Tom Lyle Williams and Emery Shaver in front of their Hollywood home. [Provided/Sharrie Williams]

"When everything exploded"

In 1964 Shaver died and Tom Williams soon after sold the company to Plough Inc., a pharmaceutical company.

"That's when everything exploded," Williams said.

Despite a promise to keep the company in Chicago and to retain its workers, Plough moved Maybelline to Little Rock, Ark., where for the remainder of Tom Williams' life he watched his company swell into a beauty conglomerate. 

Old, alone and unwell, he also looked on in dismay as his family lavishly spent money from the makeup empire as he watched it transform from the company he built, Williams said. 

In retrospect, he regretted selling it and wished he had groomed another family member to be his successor.

"He was very sad seeing the way Plough was changing everything," his great-niece said. 

Tom Williams died in 1976 at age 80.

Today the company is owned by L'Oreal and known as "Maybelline New York" — "almost as if to spite Chicago," Clayman said.

Maybelline now tells a very different origin story. According to Maybelline today, Tom Williams' sister, spelled "Maybel," had been "in love with a man who was in love with someone else" and trying different beauty regiments to lure him.

"The rest is history," the company writes. 

And under Williams' tenure, history was indeed made: Maybelline was the first cosmetics brand to plug advertisements over radio, offer before and after photos in ads, utilize the faces of movie stars to drum up publicity and use someone other than the founder's name.

Thanks to the younger Williams' book and supplemental research from Clayman, that story is now being told.

"It's a part of American history, and it's just been brushed under the rug," Williams said.

The Maybelline building in 1932 [Sharrie Williams]The Maybelline building today [Sharrie Williams]An "M" is still engraved above the Ridge Avenue door frame. [DNAinfo/Linze Rice]The former Maybelline building at 5900 N. Ridge Ave. in Edgewater [DNAinfo/Linze Rice]

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