Florence Nightingale Graham
Woodbridge, Ontario, Canada
|Died:||October 18, 1966 (aged 84)
About Elizabeth Arden
Florence Nightingale Graham (Elizabeth Arden) was a cosmetic magnet and founder of Elizabeth Arden who had an estimated net worth of $350 million upon her death. Arden had opened more than 100 salons worldwide and had a line with approximately 300 cosmetic products. In 1971 the company was purchased by Eli Lilly for $38 million; today the estimated enterprise value is more than $1.3 billion, giving Arden immense historical wealth.
Arden was born on New Year’s Eve, 1881, in Woodbridge, Ontario, Canada. Her parents had emigrated to Canada from Cornwall, United Kingdom, in the 1870s. Her father, William Graham, was Scottish, and her mother, Susan (Tadd), was Cornish and had arranged for a wealthy aunt in Cornwall to pay for her children’s education. Arden dropped out of nursing school in Toronto.
Her story began when she joined her elder brother in Manhattan, working briefly as a bookkeeper for the E. R. Squibb Pharmaceuticals Company. While there, Arden spent hours in their lab, learning about skincare. She then took a position at Eleanor Adair, an early beauty culturist, as a “treatment girl”.
In her salons and through her marketing campaigns, Elizabeth Arden stressed teaching women how to apply makeup and pioneered such concepts as scientific formulation of cosmetics, beauty makeovers, and coordinating colours of eye, lip and facial makeup. All these attributes and inventions allowed her to capitalize on her company to be one of the largest cosmetic company the world has ever seen.
In 1912, Arden traveled to France to learn beauty and facial massage techniques used in the Paris beauty salons. She returned with a collection of rouges and tinted powders she had created. She began expanding her international operations in 1915 and started opening salons across the world. In 1934, she opened the Maine Chance residential spa in Rome, Maine, the first destination beauty spa in the United States. It operated until 1970.
With all of this success in 1962, the French government awarded Arden the Légion d’Honneur, in recognition of her contribution to the cosmetics industry.