Company Profile: Make-up Art Cosmetics (MAC)

Photo of MAC Pro Store 7 West 22nd Street, NYC © Christina Jones 2008

MAC Cosmetics has been at the top of my list of loves almost since their inception.  My best girlfriend introduced me to them *oh so* long ago.  You wouldn’t believe the stash she had then – and I bet mine rivals hers now.  I of course adore their eyeshadows, and my favorite new products from MAC are the Dazzleglass lipglosses (amazing!) and their Mineralize Mineral Foundation.  Delish!

About MAC Cosmetics:

MAC was born in Toronto in 1985 by makeup artist/photographer Frank Toskan and hairdresser/entrepreneur Frank Angelo.  Similarly to other professional brands (which always seem to be my favorites, for what that’s worth), MAC was born out of a need to have better looking makeup for professional photography.  Their original company motto was “All ages, all races, all sexes,” demonstrating their desire to make each unique and diverse person on the planet the ability to look better.

MAC came into popularity strictly by word of mouth, preferring that marketing method over expensive advertising.  Their packaging has always remained simple and professional, not flashy and complicated.  They are known for their dizzying array of colors and their fashion forward seasonal selections.

While MAC caters to the professional artists, as they have gained much recognizance via fashion designers and celebrity makeup artists and their work, they also have succeeded in attracting a huge fan base of regular people who make the effort to seek out their department store counters as well as their many stand alone stores.

Growth of the MAC Brand and Acquisition by Estee Lauder Companies

MAC’s first foray into the United States was through the Henri Bendel department store, where they were in tremendous demand.  The sales associates were trained makeup artists, clad in dramatic black, and the customers couldn’t get enough of them.  They opened their first standalone store in Greenwich Village in 1991, at which point demand for the product overwhelmed Angelo and Toskan, and a huge black market for MAC products overseas ensued.  With their desire to expand their company, as well as keep up with/create the trends, they soon found themselves with not enough time on their hands.

William Lauder, of Estee Lauder Companies, discovered MAC and saw its tremendous potential as a leader of a new category of cosmetic brands.  In 1994, Estee Lauder bought 51% of MAC Cosmetics for $38 million, with the intent to purchase the other 49% eventually.  With the death of Frank Angelo in 1997 of a sudden heart attack, Frank Toskan sold the remainder of the company to Estee Lauder in 1998, for approximately $60 million, and subsequently resigned from the company.

Estee Lauder has done a fantastic job keeping Toskan and Angelo’s unique vision at the forefront, and MAC remains one of the top rated, loved and successful cosmetics brands in the world today.


mac-viva-glam-fergie MAC has been at the forefront of charity work towards recognizance and education about AIDS since 1994 with its widely known program Viva Glam program (which donates 100% of sales to its own MAC AIDS Fund).  This has been one of the most widely known and successful charities – it is promoted in a much more aggressive manner than their regular cosmetics line, and is represented by some of the most bold celebrities each year.  MAC also operates Kids Helping Kids – greeting cards created by children with HIV/AIDS and sold each holiday season.  To date the MAC AIDS Fund has raised more than $100 million for AIDS education, awareness and support of AIDS patients, and is one of the reasons that many people, both employees and customers hold MAC so closely in their heart.

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Related Topics: Beauty,Featured Loves  

5 Responses to “Company Profile: Make-up Art Cosmetics (MAC)”

  1. This picture above… …Oh-my -god…

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