Author: 23.04.2018 | history of brand
His greatest achievement is the creation of a long-lasting colour nail enamel. However, there are other significant inventions on his account: hair spray, waterproof mascara, liquid foundation cream... What would we do without Charles Revson, the exalted and wayward genius who did not have proper education? It was he who invented all these women's essentials and created the legendary Revlon.

Revlon is the first professional cosmetics brand in the world. Revlon Inc. is the full name of the largest transnational business empire, born once from a tiny company with a capital of $ 300, manufacturing quality beauty products for women. Moreover, vogue concept of "brand", which nowadays has been unjustifiably acquired by many trademarks, was formed thanks to Revlon. It was he who began to "sell hope" along with cosmetics produced in factories. In fact, the concept of "brand" is the brainchild of Charles Revson. His name is much higher than a billion business; Revson launched a revolution of colour in the world of beauty and the birth of modern marketing strategies...


Officially the history of Revlon began on March 1, 1932 when a company entered the American market, it was the first in the world to supply women with durable multi-coloured nail enamels. It was a break through, because before that (it is hard to imagine such times), women applied strange, almost colourless coatings to their nails, which lasted only for a few hours.

However, the history of Revlon began much earlier. This is the story of a strange genius, very keen on colours, their shades and ways of formation who simply did not have a chance to show himself in other companies. If you do not have a chance to show your talents being employed, you need to start your own business. This approach that is abused in modern times, was the only possible way for Charles - life pushed him to create his own production.


Charles was born October 11, 1906 in Somerville, Massachusetts in a poor large family of emigrants. His father was a Lithuanian, and his mother was a Jew. Soon, in search of a better life, they moved to American Manchester, where the parents took a job in a tobacco factory. There, young Revson graduated from high school. Parents have seen his successful future possible only through good education. Nevertheless, Charles had this opinion to that approach, like to everything else in this world: he immediately struck out on his own - moved to Boston and instead of college got a job in a tailoring company. Apparently, he was so eager for independence that he settled on a job more or less interesting and close to beauty, for which high qualification was not required. He started here as a seller of dresses for $ 16.75, and he worked his way up to piece-goods sales. There Revson became an excellent expert with perfect taste, who advised the management on improving production. It was there that Charles enthusiastically sharpened his innate sense of style and began to pay attention to colours, and with extraordinary meticulousness he looked for differences even in shades of black. Over the years, his zeal to improvement of production began worry the management, they consider it to be overly intrusive and irritable. After seven years of employment, a young workaholic was fired.


The next workplace of Revson was a company Elka, manufacture of nail enamel. He hoped to implement his ideas about colour decisions, beauty and promotion of production. However, the management of Elka was also sceptical of his ideas. Thus, after having gained experience, Charles left the company to start his own business and work according to his own rules. His brother Joseph Revson, and his friend with education in chemistry Charles Lachman, came to help him. Thanks to Lachman, the letter "L" appeared in the name of the company Revson, and it changed to RevLon. The enthusiasts pooled all their savings and started to conquer the world! First, their company produced a line of nail enamels with pigments developed by them. In a few years, thanks to the exclusive revolutionary of product, Revlon had hundreds of millions in its assets.

Good Style Rule

It can be said that Revson is credited for introduction of rules of right manicure. Firstly, only thanks to him, women got opportunity to polish their nails in different colours. Secondly, he came up with this classic rule "matching fingertips and lips". Once at a business lunch, Charles saw an elegant lady at a nearby table putting a napkin to her lips – and he was horrified at how badly, in combination with lipstick, her nail enamel looked. Therefore, from that impression, this classic rule was born. It can be followed, or you can break it, anyway, many women doing their manicure remember about this rule.


Another fact may seem to be funny: Revson was the first man who had a professional manicure. First, he was so keen on the process of creating products that he tried it on his hands. Revson could have multi coloured nails, as he tested them personally; in addition, stripes of lipsticks flaunted on the back of his palms. Over time, Charles just had neat hygienic manicure, considering his hands as an advertisement for the company.

The revolutionary colour advancement from Revlon was not limited to nail enamels. In 1940, he released the legendary red lipstick Fire and Ice, which leaves no prints: a woman should leave a trace in her life. But not a trace of her lipstick. This is another bestseller from Revlon: colours should be diverse, resistant and leave no prints "on his cheek".

It was with this slogan that Revlon, already well known throughout the world, burst loudly into the post-Soviet expanses. Do you remember this exciting TV commercials from the 90s that broadcast about luxury from abroad that just become accessible to everyone? The brightest commercials were Revlon’s: Cindy Crawford arm-in-arm with Claudia Schiffer - " the world’s most unforgettable women use Revlon"...


Actually, the philosophy of the brand is based on this slogan. Impeccable beauty was Charles’s main aspiration and ideal, in which a woman is an irrefutable aesthetic crown. However, in reality Revson, who built the work of his life on admiration of female beauty, who raised it into a cult, who established his own canons in it, was often rude with subordinate women - it is enough to study his quotations. The most famous of them is directed towards another woman, who held a rather high position in his company and dared to contradict the genius:

"Look, kiddie. I built this business by being a bastard. I run it be by being a bastard. I’ll always be a bastard, and don’t you ever try to change me. "

"He chewed up executives the way some people chew vitamins," insulted CEO of Revlon once said in his interview. Yes, his personnel said in interviews that it was very difficult to work with him, characterizing Charles as a bit ruthless and wayward person. Many executives left with scandal. So at some point his brother Joseph and Lachman were forced to leave their home company. To have a modest income was more pleasant than tolerating Charles's antics.


Revson’s empire spared no money to reward employees. Even this did not save the company from turnover in the upper-echelon executives, because they had to communicate with Charles directly. He never praised anyone for his work, but he always had insults and inhuman demands. Thus, in the American press, Revlon's corporate headquarter was called "revolving door company".

Revson was married three times, and each marriage ended in divorce. He was a rather tyrannical husband. For his third wife, Charles even chose clothes on his own. It is thanks to this that the legendary fragrance from Revlon was born.

One day, designer Norman Norell sent one of his collection of clothes to the office of Revlon, so that Charles chose clothes for his wife. Charles was so impressed with Norell's talent that he was inspired to create a perfume and named it after the designer - Norell. This fragrance is considered the first great American perfume. Continuing the trend, Revson created an easier democratic perfume for youth and named it in his honour Charlie. For marketing purposes, he often used a more sonorous and playful version of his name.

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