Wednesday, July 12, 2017

What can aspiring entrepreneur's take 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.

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