Nowadays, lipstick is the bestseller among all decorative cosmetics. Apparently, it took quite a while to become that popular. We will see that its history started very long ago; about 3500 BC, to be precise.
Archaeologists discovered that already the Sumerians put some sort of colour on their lips. Just for the records: the substances found are about 5500 years old.
As it seems, in ancient Egypt women and men – especially the warriors – painted their lips, too.
In Europe lipstick had good and bad times. While it seemed almost inexistent during the European Middle Age Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603) emphasized her lips by a reddish colour and by putting white powder on her face. Something like 200 years later Queen Victoria (1819-1901) decided that lipstick was not really suitable. Of course this was as well the “zeitgeist”.
Hazel Gladys Bishop was born in New York in 1906. She was a chemist and as from 1942 she worked in oil companies where she made some important discoveries concerning the fuel quality for planes.
Besides her day job she experimented on non-drying, non-irritating and long-wearing lipstick. “Kiss-proof”, she called it.
In 1950 she founded Hazel Bishop Inc. to market her invention. The brand was instantly accepted. The product was introduced and Lord & Taylor in summer 1950 for 1 US Dollar per tube. And guess what? The stock was sold out on the very first day.
Lipstick was a growing market and Hazel’s company soon captured 25% market share. The lipstick war had started because so far the company Revlon dominated this market.
In 1954 the company sold 10 Million US Dollar per year and Ms Bishop fought a war with her majority stockholder over financial issues. She left the company that year in order to set up another enterprise by the name of Hazel Bishop Laboratories that developed household and personal care products. But due to legal problems with her former partner she was not allowed to use her own – meanwhile very renowned – name.
Hazel Bishop’s Second Career
Hazel was not the type to give up easily.
In 1962, she became a stockbroker for Bache & Company and later a financial analyst for Evans & Company. Given in the 1960 and 70 the fragrance business was booming she was the person to talk to and her advices was ardently sought. Financial newspapers quoted her and she lectured within the US.
A Fashion Career
Apparently, Hazel Bishop was an ardent teacher.
Her third career was in fashion education. In 1978, she became an adjunct professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan. She lectured in a programme that was designed to prepare young people for careers in cosmetics.
In 1980, she was appointed to the Revlon Chair in Cosmetics and Marketing. The company Revlon had been her greatest competitor back in the 40ies.
Until some weeks ago I did not know about Hazel Bishop. But it seems as if “Leadership & Lipstick” is a good strategy and a suitable name for a blog ;-).
“Maybe lipstick not only makes us more beautiful but also more successful”. Brigitte Kobi