Canada’s makeup mogul

The in­cred­i­ble El­iz­a­beth Ar­den

StarMetro Halifax - - SPECIAL REPORT: TOP 150 - Sean Plum­mer

Be­fore Florence Nightin­gale Gra­ham, the founder of El­iz­a­beth Ar­den, en­tered the mar­ket, cos­met­ics were con­sid­ered dis­rep­utable. But the Wood­bridge, On­tar­i­oborn en­trepreneur changed that per­cep­tion, aided by the rise of the Hol­ly­wood movie close-up.

Her ca­reer be­gan with a move to Man­hat­tan, which saw the open­ing of her first sa­lon in 1910. Prior to that, she had stud­ied nurs­ing in Canada, be­com­ing fas­ci­nated with the oint­ments used to treat burn vic­tims.

Nightin­gale soon changed her name to El­iz­a­beth Ar­den, the name of her sa­lon, and ex­panded the brand to France and Aus­tralia.

Ar­den’s suc­cess en­dured through the Great De­pres­sion, and she opened sa­lons world­wide. She even branched out into horse rac­ing, with her thor­ough­bred Jet Pilot win­ning the Ken­tucky Derby in 1947.

The in-store makeover was her idea, as was travel-size makeup and the high-end spa. Ar­den was also a ded­i­cated suf­fragette, sup­ply­ing red lip­stick to 15,000 of her fel­low fem­i­nists dur­ing a 1912 march for women’s rights.

Al­ways cagey about her age, Ar­den passed away in 1966.


Cana­dian-born El­iz­a­beth Ar­den helped shape the cos­met­ics in­dus­try after open­ing her irst sa­lon in 1910.

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