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Estee Lauder buys L.A.'s Smashbox Cosmetics


Los Angeles-based makeup company Smashbox is joining MAC and Bobbi Brown under the umbrella of parent company Estee Lauder.

The Estee Lauder Cos. announced Monday that it has signed an agreement to acquire Smashbox Beauty Cosmetics Inc. — a deal expected to close in July.

Founded by Dean and Davis Factor, the great-grandsons of iconic Hollywood makeup artist Max Factor, Smashbox sprang up as a photo studio company in 1996 — and its Culver City compound went on to host the seasonal IMG fashion shows in L.A., starting in 2002, before IMG pulled out of L.A. altogether in 2009.

In 1999, the Factors launched the Smashbox cosmetics line, which is now carried in most major department stores, along with beauty chains including Ulta and Sephora.

According to Women's Wear Daily, the company generates roughly $80 million in wholesale net revenue and roughly $140 million in retail sales. It's speculated that the sale price "ranged between $200 million and $300 million," according to WWD.

--Emili Vesilind

Photo: Davis, left, and Dean Factor. Credit: Gary Friedman, Los Angeles Times

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So disappointing! As many make-up artists may recall, once Lauder gets it's paws on a line, the companies become merely another "notch on Lauder's belt".

Case-in-point: M.A.C.
Lauder merged with the Franks in 1995, owning part of the once excellent professional company. Lauder bought M.A.C. outright in 1998, and ... the formulations changed, the prices went up, the quality went down ...

It became all about "items per transaction", the Lauder way of selling (I once worked for Lauder; I know), and catering to a customer base of young women, housewives, and those who didn't know the difference between "old school" and "new, Lauder" versions of M.A.C.

Oh, and let's not forget the ridiculous, juvenile collections such as "Hello Kitty" and "Barbie". (quality, professional make-up does NOT require such gimmicks!)

Just as I now no longer buy M.A.C. (or other Lauder brands), I shall no no longer buy Smashbox.

Ask Stila what THEY think about Lauder ...


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