Saturday, December 20, 2008

MAC: brief hx & fun facts

bits of history:
Make-up Art Cosmetics (MAC) was founded in 1984 in Toronto, Canada by Frank Toskan and Frank Angelo. Toskan was a make-up artist and photographer, and Angelo was the owner of a chain of hair salons. Both recognized the need for cosmetic products that would retain their integrity under the intense lighting involved in fashion photography. The lighting conditions during fashion photoshoots often created conditions under which everyday make-up either didn’t hold up well or photographed badly. So, Toskan and Angelo set out to create a line that would hold up to these types of challenges, as well as cater to people of “all ages, all races, [and] all sexes.”

MAC first launched from a single counter in the basement of a department store in downtown Toronto. Like the staff now, the employees were professional makeup artists (dressed in all black, of course), who were eager to explain the attributes of the new line. With its wide range of colors and formulas, MAC was an immediate hit. What also attracted customers was the brand's blunt attitude and playfulness that added to the shopping experience. As fans from fashion and entertainment began sporting the brand and talking about it to the media, sales of MAC exploded.

The MAC line includes a broad range of color-oriented, professional cosmetics and professional make-up tools which appeal to makeup artists and fashion-conscious consumers. In North America, MAC products are available in various department stores (i.e., Bloomingdales, Macy’s, Nordstrom, etc.) as well as in free-standing stores. However, not all stores carry all of the same items For example, only the MAC Pro stores carry the black (not grey) eyelash glue and the Antique Gold pigment (separate from the holiday pack). They carry a lot more, but these are just the two items I’ve looked for (unsuccessfully) at the non-pro MAC stores. The only two Pro stores that I am aware of off-hand are the ones on Robertson (LA) and the MAC store inside South Coast Plaza (Costa Mesa). Internationally, MAC products are available in over 60 countries (even Israel), with about 750 stores worldwide!

what you may not have known:
In December 1994, Estée Lauder acquired a majority of MAC, and then increased its ownership in March 1997. Now (or as of February 1998) Estée Lauder is the sole owner of MAC. When I first heard about this news a while back, I was quite disappointed because I associated Estée Lauder products to perfume-drenching, old women. But now, I realize that they’re just one baller company who started various decent brands (e.g., Clinique, Aramis and Lab Series, Prescriptives, Origins) and decided to buy out several really good brands (e.g., MAC, Bobbi Brown, La Mer, Bumble and Bumble). Good business move, I guess.

resources:, wikipedia,,

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