In the late 1960s, Linda Marshall went to work for a direct-marketing beauty line. "I arrived at the training session brimming with enthusiasm," she says. "But during class, the company president held up a moisturizer and said, It doesn’t matter what’s in this bottle. Your job is to sell hope to American women.’?" Marshall was shocked. "I didn’t want to sell American women hope. I wanted to sell them a product that worked." Marshall quit on the spot. "I decided I’d find a way to sell products that actually did something. And, unlike the company I’d just left, I was going to be honest about my business. My products would have top ingredients at prices most women could afford."
So Marshall rallied friends and family, and together they bought Elysée, a skin care line that was once a favorite of stars like Betty Grable. The owners wanted out of the beauty business, and because Marshall’s mother had used Elysée for years and Marshall had worked for the brand herself in college, she knew Elysée products were high quality and had always delivered results. So she set out to find someone with a chemistry background to help. "I got involved with the CTFA [the Cosmetics, Toiletry, and Fragrance Association; now known as the Personal Care Products Council] and met a highly regarded chemist who became a great resource." Finding the newest, best ingredients became Marshall’s quest, a passion she handed down to her two sons. By the late 1980s, they’d grown up to become chemists and work
for Elysée too, taking the company to the next level. "My son Jim first told me about the importance of telomere [the part of DNA that protects your chromosomes] technology in 1997. Today this idea is significant, but we had it years ago," Marshall says.
So how has Marshall been able to lead the technology charge while keeping costs down? "Our money isn’t on the bottle; it’s in the bottle," she says. "Our products come in plain cardboard boxes. The bottles are very simple." The line is sold through elyseecosmetics.com
, the Home Shopping Network and select spas and doctors’ offices, at prices under $200. "We use antiaging ingredients at their highest levels and sell them at reasonable prices. We have achieved my dream."