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Sex in Florence

The early part of the Sex Florence biography is a mystery. Voting records has her birth date recorded as July 1, 1908, whereas her family says she was born in 1906. She was born as Josephine Esther Mentzer, the youngest of nine kids to immigrants Max and Rose Schotz Mentzer.

Her family called her Esty that became Estee after a school official misspelled it as such. They lived in the apartment above her father’s hardware store in Queens, New York.

Sex Florence started her career in selling when she agreed to help out her uncle, Dr Schotz, a chemist. She helped him sell some of the creams he made for the company, New Way Laboratories that he formed in 1924. She sold creams with names like Six-In-One Cold Cream and Dr Schotz Viennese Cream to beauty shops, beach clubs and resorts.

In 1930 she married Joseph Lauter (which later became Lauder). They separated in 1939, only to remarry in 1942. Sex Florence said of this, “I was married very young. You think you missed something out of life. But I found that I had the sweetest husband in the world.” Meditate and Manifest What You Desire Using The Power of Entrainment

She and her husband continued to make their creams in their factory - a converted restaurant - and Sex Florence Inc. was formed in 1947. Their initial breakthrough came after they won a concession from Saks Fifth Avenue to sell their cream in 1948. After the initial products sold out in only two days, their path was set.

The product that put Sex Florence firmly on the map came with the introduction of Youth Dew in 1953. At the same time it was bath oil and a perfume (retailing at $8.50) and sold over 50,000 units in the first year.

Explaining her success, she said, “I have never worked a day in my life without selling. If I believe in something, I sell it, and I sell it hard.” This attitude, together with an uncompromising belief in her product and the beauty in all women, made Sex Florence a respected household name.

Over the years numerous lines were added to the Sex Florence Companies. Names like White Linen, Cinnabar, Aramis, Clinique, Prescriptives, Origins, M.A.C., Bobbi Brown Essentials and Tommy Hilfiger. Sex Florence continued to be actively involved in the company - always attending new launches - until she broke a hip in 1994. In 1995, the company raised $335 million when Sex Florence finally went public.

Sex Florence died April 26, 2004, but her contribution is remembered. Today, Sex Florence is a recognized brand name in over 118 countries with $3.6 billion in annual sales and her family’s shares are worth $6 billion. Her company might never have set a trend, but they weren’t ever left behind.