Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Aspiring entrepreneur's take away from The MAYBELLINE STORY


I was 15, my grandmother suggested I tell the Maybelline Story in my speech class.  I did and not only got an A, but also gained a lot of overnight popularity. I decided at that young age I wanted to write a book someday so the story wouldn’t be forgotten.

What’s the core of the story?

Overcoming obstacles and succeeding. Believing in yourself and making your dream a reality. Like the new Maybelline New York tag link says, “Make it happen.” 

19-year-old entrepreneur founded an Empire with a $500-dollar loan and its effect on him and his family is a blessing and a curse.

My great uncle, Tom Lyle Williams, founded the Maybelline Company in 1915 and though he reached great success, he and his partner lived in obscurity to protect the Maybelline brand from public. The family’s blessings and curse came after the sale of the company. Some of them weren’t ready for overnight wealth.

So basically the book evokes the time-honored story of the small town boy who aspires to make it big and then proceeds to do so – in spite of neighbors who figured he wouldn’t amount to anything ---is that it?

Yes, that’s an excellent point. Rags to Riches and becoming a great success when everyone said he was a dreamer. 

 Have the principles of being a successful entrepreneur changed in the meantime?

The desire to aspire, achieve and create something is part of our DNA. However, the will to keep going is the challenge. Today social media, I think more and more entrepreneurs are creating brands that have a chance to thrive much faster than say, advertising in the classifieds like my Great uncle had to use in the 1920s.

The driving Spirit that motivates a person to produce and market something they believe in never changes. It's an internal spark that is ignited by some inspiration

1.Tom Lyle’s secret’s to success included
2.  Accountability: Though people called him a DREAMER, he didn’t rely on wishful thinking.  He stepped up to the plate and worked to make it happen. He had the fortitude to persist in spite of significant obstacles. He was Inspired and responsible for making things happen. Action is what separates doing from dreaming.

 What can an aspiring entrepreneur take from your book?

My story is about overcoming the obstacles that constantly try and silent the entrepreneurs voice. To never stop believing in your dream and succeed in the end. No matter how long it takes.

Michael Levine, one of the most successful PR Agents in Hollywood, captures the place of Maybelline when he says that every girl he ever dated as a teenager had Maybelline cosmetics in her pursue – and that even in later life, his dates always had some Maybelline product in their purses.  Today, it’s impossible to walk through a drugstore without seeing Maybelline products. That seems to speak both to the power of Maybelline marketing and its place in our culture …  

Maybelline has always been known for it’s Advertising and marketing. Tom Lyle Williams was known in the business as The King of Advertising. Maybelline had a tremendous effect on changing the culture in the early years.  Today, Maybelline’s standard of beauty is still holding strong with the younger generation. Maybelline continues to change with the times and keep up with what women want.

Amongst the firsts started by Tom Lyle Williams and now taken for granted was his use of Hollywood starts to endorse his products. What other firsts did start?

Carded thn bubble wrapped merchandise and the twirling displays we take for granted today in stores.  They were the first to do “Before and After” effects in print and the first to use special effects on TV in the early 1960s. They also were the first to use page, colored advertising on the back of magazines. And the list goes on.

Reading the book, one gets the picture that Tom Lyle Williams had had some failures and then when the early Maybelline products began selling well, he was almost surprised by his own success. Is that what happened?

In the early days the whole family took suitcases to the train station and wheeled bags of mail home in a wheel barrel because the Post Master told them their mail was jamming up the system. This was the first revelation that the American girls were ready for this new eye enhancing product. It was a shock for the whole family as Maybelline continued to expand over the years.

Was there some good old-fashioned luck here? A part of Maybelline’s success was that the times were changing? It was no longer assumed that women who used makeup were – as they used to say – of loose morals?

It was the flappers who launched the Maybelline company and Silent Films.   Tom Lyle featured Stars Silent Film Stars endorsing Maybelline saying they wore Maybelline in public. Husbands threatened to divorce their wives if they dared to buy the product. But, in the end the women won the vote and the right to beautify their eyes.

Was there some regret when L-Oreal took over Maybelline.

The company sold to Plough Inc in 1967. Tom Lyle did regret selling it. He wished he had turned it over to the younger generation. But you’ll have to read my book to see why.

Saturday, January 9, 2021

106 years of Maybelline Ads show how little has changed in beauty...


The products may change, but their goals remain the same

while trends and looks superficially change, nothing has really changed fundamentally in beauty. Women still want lush lashes and brows and perfect skin 103 years later, though the way advertisers have marketed those products to women has changed.


 Maybelline got its start with a lash and brow product. In 1915, a young woman named Mabel Williams mixed coal dust with Vaseline and used it to beef up her lashes after singing them off in an accident. Her brother Tom Lyle Williams took the idea and ran with it, producing a product he called it Lash-Brow-Ine, that became popular via mail order. He called his new company Maybelline (Mabel + Vaseline) and a brand was born. 


In the '30s, brow pencils and eye shadow also came into vogue. This was also the birth of the makeup tutorial's earliest ancestor. The brand produced ads of Betty Grable demonstrating a three-step application process, which ran in popular magazines. The company also notes that in the '30s, the time of the Great Depression, women couldn't afford a new dress, but they could certainly afford a new eye shadow.


In the 1940s and 1950s, Maybelline introduced iridescent eye shadow sticks and liquid liner.  In 1959, the company launched its first "automatic" mascara (after Helena Rubenstein got one to market first), featuring a spiral brush in the tube, called Magic Mascara. During this era, Maybelline began distributing overseas.

By this point, Tom Lyle Williams was the Cosmetic King and Maybelline was Number one Globally.  Then in 1971, the company cemented its hold on women's lashes for good by launching the now-iconic pink and green Great Lash Mascara. In the late '60s, the company was sold to Schering-Plough.


 In 1974, the company launched its first lip products, which included products like Kissing Sticks, Kissing Koolers, and Kissing Potion. Kissing: very big in the '70s.


The brand started offering a full complement of products, including lipstick and foundation. Lynda Carter featured prominently in many ads during this decade, ushering in the era of the actress as spokes model. 


In 1990, Maybelline changed hands again, this time to investment firm Wasserstein Perella and Co. One of the most famous ad slogans of all time was also introduced during this decade: "Maybe she's born with it. Maybe it's Maybelline." (Admit it. You just sang the jingle in your head.) Christy Turlington featured prominently in commercials during the '90s.  L'Oreal acquired the brand in 1996 and still owns it. Over the last 20 years, the brand has signed buzzy models like Jourdan Dunn, Gigi Hadid, Adriana Lima, Freja Beha Erichsen, Jessica White, Charlotte Free and Shu Pei Qin, and sponsored global fashion week.  
Maybelline changed its Logo from "Maybe it's Maybelline," to "Make it Happen." 

 Gigi Hadid became the new face of Maybelline promoting her own product line under the  Maybelline  collection.

And it all started with a 19 year old boy with a good idea from his sister Mabel and a $500. loan from 

Sunday, December 27, 2020

The Maybelline Story makes a great gift for family and friends


 "Spirited" is putting it mildly
Sharrie Williams has written an incredibly entertaining and spirited book about a exciting, complex and spirited family that gives you the roller coaster ride of your life. This book grabs you from the get-go and won't let you go or let you put it down. It has EVERYTHING! And I mean everything you could want in an epic novel. This book should definitely be turned into a mini-series or feature film. I enjoyed every morsel in this delicious and tasty book. Besides all the yuminess you will also come away with valuable life and business lessons. There is alot packed into this one book but Sherrie does it masterfully. And now because Sharrie Williams has now shared this story with the world we will be able to benefit from the insight, inspiration and magic that is THE MAYBELLINE STORY.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Maybelline's place in the History of Makeup


History of Mascara

Our Beauty P.I. series is where Makeup.com editor Alanna delves into the history of various makeup products — where they originated from and how they’ve evolved. Next up on the list is the conception of mascara.9

The human body has a knack for genius traits, and one of its best traits is its ability to protect itself from outside harm. Take hair, for example: It’s a natural defense system that coats the skin and is meant to keep bacteria at bay. Another similar protecting barrier? Eyelashes. Meant to divert, protect and defend the precious sclera and cornea, lashes are a lot more than just a charming feature.

Mascara: The OG Protector

This is why it’s actually no surprise that mascara was one of the first makeup products to exist — it was created as another layer and practical mean of protection around the eye. The precursor to what we know as mascara began way back when — around 4000 BC in Ancient Egypt. Beauty gurus would use mixtures of kohl and ointments to darken and accentuate the lashes, and this OG version even helped protect the eyes from bright sunlight, Marie Claire reports. Like many things in the ancient world, these early mascara practices also coincided with spiritual phenomena: Not only is the mascara a protectant of the physical eye, but also a shield to ward off any bad juju — and although archaic, that’s something we can stiill get behind.

But the origin of mascara doesn’t stop there. Ancient Romans also had a heavy hand in the practice of darkening lashes, and the first Persian-founded cosmetology school taught women how to formulate their own mascaras around 900 BCE, Popsugar Beauty reports. With the major rise in makeup (and Queen Liz-inspired red locks) centuries later during the Elizabethan Era, women began experimenting with dyeing their lashesusing berries and fireplace soot (pretty is as pretty does, I suppose).

The Rise of the Formula as We Know It

Although ambiguous, the term “mascara” is thought to have been derived from Spanish, Portuguese and Italian words, màscara and maschera, meaning mask or stain. The first modern predecessor to mascara as we know it came from a French chemist named Eugène Rimmel, yep — saying it louder for those in the back: that Rimmel — for Queen Victoria. What was finally different about Rimmel’s formula was that he used the newly invented petroleum jelly, which he mixed with coal to create the new mascara formula — and bingo, modern mascara was born.

As the 20th century rolled around, American businessman Thomas Lyle Williams created a similar mascara product for his sister Maybel, and by 1917 he had his first cosmetic mail order business selling Lash-Brow-Ine. This applicable mascara was the very first marketable mascara in the cosmetic industry, and soon its name changed to a familiar one we know and love:Maybelline — after Ms. Williams herself, *yep, mind blown.*

Without surprise, mascara became a household item in the cosmetics world, with bigger beauty giants jumping on the trend, like makeup maven Helena Rubinstein. Even more interesting, the original design of the first mascaras came in cake form where the product was packed into a palette and sold with a small brush (you can even buy one here!). And with the rise of Hollywood actresses, costume makeup and false lashes of the 30s, mascara transformed from practical to coveted, and it’s this versatility that has allowed it to be one of the most-sought after makeup products for just about everyone who wears makeup.

It wasn’t until the 1960s that mascara evolved into tube form, thanks to Rubinstein’s Mascara- Matic and Maybelline Ultra-Lash. The tube truly revolutionized mascara and forever changed the way in which we apply and use it. Mascara finally achieved the ultimate makeup goal: It became totally effortless.

Lashes on Fleek

Today, mascara still transforms its wearer, but even more so than ever before: Now it enhances, lengthens, thickens, curls and darkens (or even colors blue or purple or burgundy). Mascara is one of those astonishing makeup products that has come full circle, beginning as a fierce protector of the eyes against sunlight and terrain, and becoming a must-have for all kinds of makeup gurus out there.

There’s a reason why mascara is often one of the first makeup products beauty amateurs reach for. With the swipe of its wand, it makes you feel that little bit of magic that is makeup

Monday, December 7, 2020

Digi/Writing interview, " What inspired you to write The Maybelline Story"


            I Am A Writer Series – Writing Tips 

Q&A With Sharrie Williams

Want to know what other writers think? Check out our I Am A Writer Series where we ask writers to share tips, experiences, and thoughts about what matters to them.

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer?

I kept a diary at fifteen and expanded to intensive journal keeping in my thirties. After my grandmother, Miss Maybelline’s, mysterious death, I knew I had to tell her story. That’s how my book The Maybelline Story was inspired.

Have you ever tried writing in a cafe? How did you find the experience?

When I was writing The Maybelline Story I’d sometimes go to Starbucks when I didn’t have internet where I was visiting. I found it better than a library. It was comfortable, and I liked the hum of people coming and going. If I needed to ask a question, I’d ask it out loud, and usually someone else working on their computer would come over and help me.

What was your favourite subject in school? Were you always a strong writer?

I was a drama major in high school and junior college. I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in psychology. Both subjects taught me to be a great story teller and, combined with my journaling, I progressively became a strong writer.

Do you imagine the world you’re going to write about before you write it? Or does it come to you through the story?

Being an Ira Progroff intensive journal keepingstudent for over thirty-five years, I have learned to tap into my inner world and develop stories I never dreamed of. It’s called automatic writing. I go into a meditation space and just let my characters tell me their stories. That’s how I wrote The Maybelline Story.

Do you get writer’s block? If so, what technique gets you writing again?

When I’m intensely writing or editing I get burned out after spending several hours in the deep space of my inner world, connecting with my characters, and have to rest. I do yoga every day and must sleep nine hours or more. It’s like turning to ice and having to thaw out. But I love it.

Author Bio

Sharrie Williams, heir to the Maybelline legacy, is Tom Lyle Williams’ great-niece and is steward of the vast Maybelline archives. Sharrie tells the story of the birth of the Maybelline empire and reveals intimate and never-before-told details about the fascinating family dynasty behind it.  Sharrie has been featured on Good Morning Arizona, Arizona TV: The Morning Scramble, KCAL 9, CBS California, and ABC 7, Chicago. She has also been featured in many online and print magazines in Canada, Australia, and the UK. She is currently published in China, Spain, Poland Czechoslovakia and Estonia. She's also a Hollywood reporter for a financial podcast called, Investigating with Gavin Graham.