Friday, July 19, 2019

Order a signed copy of the Maybelline Story directly from me

Click to Order a signed copy of the Maybelline Story directly from the author. 

Maybelline  1915 - 2018  The Maybelline Story Embraces the drama, intrigue and history behind the Iconic Maybelline Brand and the family behind it. 

Available at 

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. 

Review By Kate Farrell of Kates Reads

“The Maybelline Story and the Spirited Dynasty Behind It”, by Sharrie Williams is a gripping memoir of the cosmetics company and her own family.  It is vintage Hollywood, with all of the glamour, greed, passion and intrigue you would expect.

Tom Lyle, the company’s founder and patriarch of the family, discovers the idea for mascara from an incident with his sister, Mabel.  He turns the idea into a business venture and begins a successful mail-order marketing campaign.  He names the company Maybelline in honor of his sister.  Over the years the business will grow and then reach the brink only to be brought back to success by Lyle’s business and marketing savvy.  He was truly an entrepreneur.

The extended family is filled with interesting and colorful personalities.  Most of them are involved in the company in some shape or form; or at least dependent on their share of the family fortune. How they interact with each other and get tangled up in drama makes for titillating reading.  The author does not seem to have left any skeletons in the closet or stones unturned.

This is a very engaging memoir.  Williams’ writing brings all the players to life and makes the reader anxious to know what happens to them next.  It has all the ingredients for a great piece of fiction but is even better when you realize it all really happened.  A great read!

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Another great review of The Maybelline Story from a guys point of view

By James Pringle.

I just wanted to let you know that your book captivated my attention, from beginning to end.The Maybelline Story, your family history, is a mixture of joy and sadness, complete with a full array of emotions, as well as plenty of adventure and drama to stimulate the imagination.

Throughout your book, I drew mental pictures of locations and events which you eloquently described.  The photos in your book helped to complete my mental images of your family.  While reading your book it was as if I were watching a movie of "The Maybelline Story" in my mind.

In fact, I would be very surprised if "The Maybelline Story" is not someday showing in theaters as a full-length movie or as a  mini-series on TV.  Indeed.  

Sunday, July 7, 2019

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, and Estonia.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Author of The Maybelline Story, hopes to have her second book "Maybelline: Out of the Ashes published this year

“At 5-years-old, my grandmother put complete makeup on my eyes: mascara, eye shadow, eyebrow pencil, lipstick, rouge,” remembers Sharrie Williams. “She paraded me into the living room so that my great uncle could see. He said, ‘There’s nothing more beautiful than Maybelline mascara on virgin eyelashes.’ From that point on, I realized it was pretty important in this family to get attention from being beautiful.”

Her great uncle was Tom Lyle Williams, who created America’s No. 1 cosmetic company, Maybelline, in 1915. In 2010 the Maybelline Story was published. Today Sharrie has written her second book, "Maybelline" Out of the Ashes" that will be published later this year.

Drama and Intrigue within the Family

My grandmother was mysteriously killed in an arson-related fire in 1978, and that really spurred me to make sure her memory wasn’t forgotten,” she explains. “Still, I put it off and put it off until 1993 when my house burnt down in the Laguna Beach [California] fires; and I lost all of my earthly belongings. I realized the only thing you cannot take away from me is my story. With that I started writing this story with my father’s help.”

The book has no shortage of drama and intrigue, including the fact that her great uncle was a homosexual during a time when he largely had to hide the fact. He eventually moved to Hollywood and worked with some of the biggest stars of the period.

The Struggle with “Outer” Beauty

The Maybelline Story” also chronicles Sharrie’s personal struggles. “I realized [at a young age] it was very important in this family to be beautiful and that then starts my issues when I became 13-years-old, with taking diet pills.  Making sure my outsides were more impressive than how I felt inside was expected” she shares.

“My confidence now comes from the inside rather than how I look on the outside,” 

To those interested in writing their own family story, Sharrie offers the following thoughts: “My advice is to just do it, and don’t let anything stand in your way. The emotional satisfaction is better than years in therapy; and the finished product is a family treasure or, if published, a dream come true. If you have a passion for history and a love of ancestry, writing your memoir is a natural calling.” But she also warns, “It won’t happen overnight, and life will step in and try and stop you, but if you are persistent and keep writing, the end result will be a masterpiece that lives on forever.”

Saturday, June 22, 2019

How Often Should You Get a Facial? We'll go to great lengths to have glowing skin and facials offer a vast amount of benefits but how often should you get a facial?

The U.S. has more than 50,000 professionally trained skin care specialists.
A large number of these professionals specialize in taking care of the face given that it’s the part of the body with the most sensitive skin. It’s also the most visible part of the body.  As such, you would want yours to glow with youthfulness and clarity with facials and other routines used to attain these results.  We'll go to great lengths to have glowing skin, and facials offer a vast amount of benefits. But how often should you get a facial?  Read on to find out.

The Frequency of Getting a Facial
Skin care professionals recommend a facial every three to four weeks. That’s an average of between 21 to 28 days for a normal skin type.  The choice for this period has a basis on the life cycle of skin cells. From the first to the 21st day, the cells would have undergone a full life cycle and will be in need of clearing to make way for newer cells. This period sees to the cells formed, moving from the inner layers to the outer layers of the skin, staying for a while then dying off.

Factors Determining How Often You Should Get a Facial
The 21-day period is however not fixed since there are determinants to how often your skin will need a facial. These factors include the following:

1. Condition of Your Skin
Two people with the same type of skin may require facials on a different frequency depending on this factor. If your skin has redness, dullness, blackheads, is dry and with other conditions besides the norm, you may need facials on a more frequent basis.  Having whiteheads, blackheads or acne may also require more frequent facials to clean the skin.

2. Type of Your Skin
Your skin can be of any type ranging from dry to normal to oily and many other variations in-between these classifications. Each of these skin types requires a different schedule for having facials.
Other than that, the frequency will also result from whether the skin is clear or has clogged pores, blackheads, breakouts and other blemishes. Most importantly, the sensitivity of your skin will require having fewer facials than skin with normal sensitivity. The aim is to avoid inflaming the skin and causing more problems.

3. The Targets You Have for Your Skin
It's advisable to have specific goals for your skin care plan before starting one. While the skincare expert will tell you what you need to do to overcome any blemishes, it is all up to you when it comes to making the actual decision. The frequency of the facial sessions will depend on the decision the two of you reach.

4. How Much You’re Willing to Spend on the Facial
Facials can be quite expensive especially when they entail using exotic products. Thus, you'll need to make a decision between having the right number of sessions and spending within your budget.
Some experts may allow you to tweak the products used to match your budget and frequency of facials.

5. Your Age
For most young people, the need for facials is less urgent as their skins naturally regenerate fast and consistently. Given the right products, their skins can even do without a facial and still remain clean and lively. This young age only requires facials to clear blackheads and other blemishes and on a less frequent basis.  With age, your skin needs more care to keep it in good condition. You, therefore, need more frequent facials coupled with other procedures aimed at rejuvenating the skin.

6. Environmental Factors
Your environment determines the number of pollutants in the air with urban and industrial areas having more pollutants than rural areas. The high level of pollutants leads to skin problems if they’re not cleaned off the skin fast enough.  Living in an urban region may thus require more frequent facial sessions than in rural areas.  A combination of these factors will give you the exact frequency of your facials.

But What Exactly is a Facial?
While the primary question is the frequency of getting a facial, some confuse it with other procedures done on the face.  A facial is a general term given to skin care treatments of the face among them exfoliation, creams, facial masks, massage, steam, extraction, lotions, and peels. The choice of facial procedure depends on your specific need as a customer.

Are Facials Worth It?
Facials are worth it given their many benefits which go beyond a beautiful face to include the reduction of stress. The full list of benefits is as follows:

Stress Reduction
A properly done facial helps calm the nerves on the face and the head in general thus doing away with stress. Obtaining the full stress reduction benefits from a facial requires expert hands to locate and manipulate the pressure points on the face.

Prevention of Aging
Facials stimulate your face leading to the faster regeneration of cells and production of collagen. The boosted circulation resulting from a facial massage makes it easy to remove the toxins from the face and into the bloodstream for elimination. The result is a younger-looking face.

Skin Tightening
Facials help prevent the skin from sagging by stimulating the production of collagen. The collagen helps the skin retain its elasticity even in old age.

Treatment of Acne
Facials help calm inflamed skin while keeping the toxins that worsen acne at bay. Facial products containing salicylic acid help reduce the acne and any scars it may cause to the skin.
It’s recommended to go to a wellness spa that offers a range of facials for best results. You can explore services here for a better understanding.

So, How Often Should You Get a Facial?
The answer to "how often should you get a facial?" is highly subjective and the estimate of three to four weeks is only for normal skin types. Other types of skin will need either less or more facials within a given period of time. With only a few people having normal skin with balanced oil production, many people require talking to a skin specialist to have the right answer. Even with that, the frequency for a single individual is subject to change.
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Monday, June 17, 2019

GAME ON! Maybelline's tremendous success in the 1960s By Harris A. Neil Jr.

Thus, the Maybelline environment, both internal and external, became the stage of activity as I joined the company in early 1959.

Very quickly John Cole introduced me around and toured the entire facility with me, from stem to stern. One of the first things I recall in looking back is Dorothy Molander asking me how often I wanted to be paid. How often? Yes, she said, some of us like a weekly check, some twice monthly, whatever you’d like. I had never heard of anything like that before or since, and I quickly opted for a weekly check. After all, I was broke.

Right after I started our Assembly Supervisor, Hazel Peterson, retired. It was just a coincidence but it put that part of the operation in a new and untested direction. Even though I was new, John asked me to “be the eyes and ears” of what would become the Production Department.

All of this moved along while the brand-new “Magic Mascara” was giving all facets of the company plenty of challenges. The several suppliers of packaging and product components were on maximum output, and the private label contractor came on line very quickly after the aborted start on Maybelline premises. Juluis Wagman, Chief Chemist, had set this up across town, and a small private-label outfit called Munk Chemical Company. This arrangement not only worked for the moment, the relationship between Munk and Maybelline grew over the years to encompass many new products. You name it, if it was a liquid product Munk was in the picture. As Maybelline grew, so did Munk.

New products began to roll out in rapid succession. It seemed that we’d just about catch up to volume from one blockbuster and another one, even bigger, was coming down
 the pipeline.

 If we could single one over the others, it would have to be Ultra-Lash Mascara, with a newer applicator brush and formulation. We chased after that one for months before volume leveled out, at a very high volume that never went down. It had to be the prime money-maker for the company from roll-out to the Plough merger and beyond.

(NOTE: The “money-maker” reference above is speculation only. I was not privy to the company’s finances except to track direct labor production costs.)

As this volume grew and new products came along, Tom Lyle Williams Jr., John and Harold “Rags” Ragland, Sales Vice President, worked together in their respective roles to improve the appearance and form of product packaging into a new, uniform appearance. Simplified, the whole product line (except for most Introductory sizes) soon went to market blister-packed on bright-white product cards, either in direct shipments or shipments coupled with carousel display stands that Rags had developed.

 They were called “Eye Fashion Centers”and they included a full array of the Maybelline line, insuring that retailers had a complete, balanced line of products.

This growth also required changes in the internal operation. Where packages had been mostly hand-assembled in all history, now blister packaging quickly became the dominant method. The equipment available for this new packaging setup was quite new, because the concept itself was just moving into the marketplace. It applied to many, many product lines, not merely cosmetics. Such other lines as writing instruments, batteries, shaving products, electronics, on and on, it was the way to go on all retail fronts.

Eventually, in order to get maximum production out of our square footage, we ended up after several generations of machinery, with a small, one-man company who was starting with a new and interesting machine. The company became Alloyd, Incorporated, and the machine produced 60 packages a minute. When we worked into this new machine we found in some cases that we could make “two-up” dies, thus increasing production to over 100 packages per minute. This advancement bought time for the company in the limited and unchanging space that production occupied in the building.

Even with these changes and improvements, time and space were both running out for the company. By 1966 it became painfully obvious that we had come close to outgrowing the “cracker box.” In early 1967 as I recall, Tom located and purchased a plot of suitable land on Algonquin Road outside Chicago, beyond O’Hare Field. He also engaged an architectural firm, Rabig and Ramp, to begin design work and develop preliminary plans for a new facility. Also, John Cole made contact with selected commercial realty companies to scour the existing inventory of properties for a possible facility.

I remember going with John and a real estate agent to a building in Chicago that had beenvacated by Kitchens of Sara Lee when they moved to their own new facility in suburban Deerfield. It was obvious that Sara Lee had left that building in the same predicament that was facing Maybelline. It had been subdivided, repurposed, overworked, and just plain worn out. When John and I left that place we never talked about it again. There wasn't anything to talk about, really.

As this period of growth moved along, all of our jobs moved with it. Even without formal guidelines, it was the natural position of the company to keep staffing “thin,” with no bureaucratic build-up. A good example was with Rags, who managed the national sales and marketing function with only one assistant, Carle Rollins, and an executive secretary, Gladys Johnson. John’s staff consisted of myself, and an excellent administrative and inventory person named Joan Lundell. In turn, Joan had one clerical helper.

In my case, my job began to “transition” to accommodate both the company’s growth and also new tasks that became necessary with that growth. I remember on day, back in 1961, when I got a carbon copy of a letter John had written to a supplier. In it he referred to me as our “Production Manager.” That was new to me but I liked it, and that became my title from then on.