COSMETICS PIONEER ESTEE LAUNDER DIES AT AGE 97

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Estée Lauder, purveyor "jars of hope", died on April 24th at her home in Manhattan. She was 97.

'The pursuit of beauty is honorable,' Mrs. Lauder used to say. Lauder, the of the Estee Lauder's founding chairwoman built an empire with 21,500 employees and an estimated worth of about $10 billion. Its products are sold in more than 130 countries across five continents.

Estée Lauder Companies was not formally established until 1946, but its roots go back to the 1920's. In all, Lauder marketed some 2,000 individual shades and items produced by five Lauder companies: Estée Lauder, Clinique, Origins, Prescriptives and (for men) Aramis. The company also purchased spa products giant Aveda Corporation in the mid-90's. The company also operates a stand-alone day spa in New York City.

A marketing genius, Lauder is credited with the concept of free samples and 'gift with purchase," and other creative promotional initiatives.