WhatsNew2Day
Latest News And Breaking Headlines

The rise and fall of Revlon: As cosmetics giant files for bankruptcy see what went wrong

Makeup giant Revlon has filed for bankruptcy after nearly a century in business.

The beauty company, which sells foundation, concealer, blush, highlighter, lipstick, eye shadow, and mascara, as well as hair products, beauty tools, and nail care, was founded in 1932 by two Jewish brothers who lived in New York City and had created a new type of nail polish.

Revlon rose to prominence throughout the late 1900s, going from a nail brand to one of the biggest beauty companies in the world – which is now worth between $1 billion and $10 billion.

For much of its 90-years in business, the well-known beauty brand – which helped pioneer the famous red lip – was the go-to for all things makeup, and it was endorsed by many famous faces, including Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel, Olivia Wilde, and Halle Berry.

However, in recent years, between growing competition and closures from the COVID-19 pandemic, the company has been plagued with crippling debt and an immense loss of sales, as well as distribution problems, and product shortages.

As Revlon files for bankruptcy, FEMAIL has taken a look back at the rise and fall of the beauty brand, including how it started, what went wrong, and everything in between. Some of its products are pictured in 2016

As Revlon files for bankruptcy, FEMAIL has taken a look back at the rise and fall of the beauty brand, including how it started, what went wrong, and everything in between. Some of its products are pictured in 2016

The beauty company, which sells makeup like foundation, concealer, blush, highlighter, lipstick, eye shadow, and mascara, as well as hair products, beauty tools, and nail care, was founded in 1932 by two Jewish brothers who lived in New York City

The beauty company, which sells makeup like foundation, concealer, blush, highlighter, lipstick, eye shadow, and mascara, as well as hair products, beauty tools, and nail care, was founded in 1932 by two Jewish brothers who lived in New York City

Revlon rose to prominence throughout the late 1900s, going from a nail brand to one of the biggest beauty companies in the world - but it was recently plagued with crippling debt and an immense loss of sales. CEO Debra Perelman is pictured in 2021

Revlon rose to prominence throughout the late 1900s, going from a nail brand to one of the biggest beauty companies in the world – but it was recently plagued with crippling debt and an immense loss of sales. CEO Debra Perelman is pictured in 2021

Now, it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in an attempt to ‘strategically reorganize’ its finances.

‘Today’s filing will allow Revlon to offer our consumers the iconic products we have delivered for decades, while providing a clearer path for our future growth,’ said CEO Debra Perelman, who became head of the company in 2018, in a statement. 

‘Our challenging capital structure has limited our ability to navigate macro-economic issues in order to meet this demand.’

According to CNBC, the company is unable to ‘timely fill almost one-third of customer demand for its products due to an inability to source a sufficient and regular supply of raw materials.’

It listed its assets and liabilities between $1 billion and $10 billion, but has more than $3 billion of debt, the outlet reported. It is going to receive $575 million in debtor-in-possession financing to help support day-to-day operations. 

As Revlon files for bankruptcy, FEMAIL has taken a look back at the rise and fall of the beauty brand, including how it started, what went wrong, and everything in between.

The rise of Revlon: How two brothers launched one of the biggest beauty companies in the world

Revlon was first founded on March 1, 1932, by brothers Charles (pictured) and Joseph Revson - who teamed up with a chemist named Charles Lachman, and took the 'L' in his last name and combined it with theirs to come up with the moniker Revlon

Revlon was first founded on March 1, 1932, by brothers Charles (pictured) and Joseph Revson – who teamed up with a chemist named Charles Lachman, and took the ‘L’ in his last name and combined it with theirs to come up with the moniker Revlon

Its first product was a new style of nail polish, which used pigments instead of dyes. The trio began selling the nail polishes in 1937, and within one year, Revlon was branded a multi-million-dollar company. Founder Charles Revson is pictured in 2017

Its first product was a new style of nail polish, which used pigments instead of dyes. The trio began selling the nail polishes in 1937, and within one year, Revlon was branded a multi-million-dollar company. Founder Charles Revson is pictured in 2017

Revlon was first founded on March 1, 1932, by brothers Charles and Joseph Revson – who launched the company amid the Great Depression in Manhattan.

The siblings teamed up with a chemist named Charles Lachman, and took the ‘L’ in his last name and combined it with theirs to come up with the moniker Revlon. 

Its first product was a new style of nail polish, which used pigments instead of dyes – and it was instantly a big hit. The trio developed a variety of shades and began selling the nail polishes in department stores in 1937, and within one year, Revlon was branded a multi-million-dollar company.

In 1940, they decided to expand the brand, and launched their first lipstick collection. They also had an entire manicure line by that point, and soon became the second top cosmetics company in the country – just under Besame Cosmetics. 

The makeup giant began selling its products worldwide in the 1950s, including Japan, France, Italy, Argentina, and Mexico.

In 1940, they decided to expand the brand, and launched their first lipstick collection. They also had an entire manicure line by that point, and soon became the second top cosmetics company in the country - just under Besame Cosmetics

In 1940, they decided to expand the brand, and launched their first lipstick collection. They also had an entire manicure line by that point, and soon became the second top cosmetics company in the country – just under Besame Cosmetics

The makeup giant began selling its products worldwide in the 1950s, expanding to Japan, France, Italy, Argentina, and Mexico

The makeup giant began selling its products worldwide in the 1950s, expanding to Japan, France, Italy, Argentina, and Mexico

Throughout the '50s and '60s, Revlon acquired numerous other companies, expanding into the fragrance industry and releasing tons more products like deodorant, shampoo and conditioner, and of course, more makeup

Throughout the ’50s and ’60s, Revlon acquired numerous other companies, expanding into the fragrance industry and releasing tons more products like deodorant, shampoo and conditioner, and of course, more makeup

The brand has had many big names model for it over the years, including Laura Hutton, Milla Jovovich (when she was only 13), Audrey Hepburn (when she was 60), Kate Bosworth, Emma Stone (pictured), Halle Berry, and Jennifer Connelly

The brand has had many big names model for it over the years, including Laura Hutton, Milla Jovovich (when she was only 13), Audrey Hepburn (when she was 60), Kate Bosworth, Emma Stone, Halle Berry (pictured), and Jennifer Connelly

The brand has had many big names model for it over the years, including Laura Hutton, Milla Jovovich (when she was only 13), Audrey Hepburn (when she was 60), Kate Bosworth, Emma Stone (left), Halle Berry (right), and Jennifer Connelly

Throughout the ’50s and ’60s, Revlon acquired numerous other companies, expanding into the fragrance industry and releasing tons of other products like deodorant, shampoo and conditioner, and of course, more makeup. 

In 1967, Revlon became a leader in diabetes drugs after it teamed up with the U.S. Vitamin and Pharmaceutical Corporation.

The brand then made history in 1970, when it became the first ever cosmetics company to feature a black model, Naomi Sims, in its advertising. It also broke boundaries once again when it created a cosmetics line specifically for women of color in the ’70s. 

Revlon launched a new perfume called Charlie in 1973, which went on to become the number one global fragrance at the time. After the release, Revlon’s sales rose from $506 million to $606 million the following year. 

Other famous faces who posed for the brand include Iman, Claudia Schiffer, Cindy Crawford (pictured), Jaime King, Susan Sarandon, Melanie Griffith, Julianne Moore, and Eva Mendes

Other famous faces who posed for the brand include Iman, Claudia Schiffer, Cindy Crawford (pictured), Jaime King, Susan Sarandon, Melanie Griffith, Julianne Moore, and Eva Mendes

The company officially became a $1 billion business in 1979. Jaime King, Eva Mendes, Julianne Moore, and Halle Berry are seen posing for Revlon

The company officially became a $1 billion business in 1979. Jaime King, Eva Mendes, Julianne Moore, and Halle Berry are seen posing for Revlon

One of the original founders, Lachman, passed away in 1975 and the then-president of the company, Michel Bergerac (center), soon took over as CEO

One of the original founders, Lachman, passed away in 1975 and the then-president of the company, Michel Bergerac (center), soon took over as CEO

One of the original founders, Lachman, passed away in 1975 and the then-president of the company, Michel Bergerac, soon took over as CEO.

He continued to expand the brand, purchasing an optical equipment and supplies company and a contact solution manufacturer in the late ’70s. He also bought the company that owned the medicine Tums in 1978.

Through these expansions, the company officially became a $1 billion business in 1979.

The brand has had many big names model for it over the years, including Laura Hutton, Milla Jovovich (when she was only 13), Audrey Hepburn (when she was 60), Kate Bosworth, Iman, Claudia Schiffer, Cindy Crawford, Jaime King, Susan Sarandon, Melanie Griffith, Julianne Moore, Eva Mendes, Jennifer Connelly, and Emma Stone, among others. 

The fall of Revlon: How the makeup giant went from one of the most popular brands to filing for bankruptcy

Despite appearing to be at the height of its reign in the '70s, it soon started to struggle. Throughout the 1980s, the company began to lose traction as brands like Estee Lauder and Cover Girl rose in popularity. Crawford is seen modeling for Revlon

Despite appearing to be at the height of its reign in the ’70s, it soon started to struggle. Throughout the 1980s, the company began to lose traction as brands like Estee Lauder and Cover Girl rose in popularity. Crawford is seen modeling for Revlon

In November 1985, Pantry Pride officially bought Revlon for $58 per share, totaling $2.7 billion. Bergerac then resigned and Ronald Perelman took over as CEO

In November 1985, Pantry Pride officially bought Revlon for $58 per share, totaling $2.7 billion. Bergerac then resigned and Ronald Perelman took over as CEO

Despite appearing to be at the height of its reign in the ’70s, Revlon soon started to struggle. Throughout the 1980s, the company began to lose traction as brands like Estee Lauder and Cover Girl rose in popularity.

In the early ’80s, a company called Pantry Pride, which was a subsidiary of Ronald Perelman’s MacAndrews & Forbes, wanted to buyout Revlon – and the two became engulfed in war while Pantry Pride attempted a hostile takeover.

In November 1985, Pantry Pride officially purchased Revlon for $58 per share, totaling $2.7 billion. Bergerac then resigned and Perelman took over as CEO.

Revlon entered the stock market in 1996, and despite its continued success in the ’90s, it faced numerous scandals throughout the 2000s.

In 1989, the beauty brand was applauded when it became one of the first companies to stop testing their products on animals – however, in 2011, it was uncovered by PETA that Revlon was paying Chinese labs to test its cosmetics on animals.

It then announced it would be removing all of its factories from China, firing more than 1,000 employees in the process.

Revlon attempted to improve sales when it purchased makeup company Elizabeth Arden and nail care brand Cutex in 2016, however, it appears to have been unsuccessful.

Amid celebrity makeup brands like Kylie Jenner's Kylie Cosmetics and Rihanna's Fenty Beauty, partnered with people staying home due to the pandemic, the brand saw a drop in sales recently. Crawford and Schiffer are seen posing for Revlon

Amid celebrity makeup brands like Kylie Jenner’s Kylie Cosmetics and Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty, partnered with people staying home due to the pandemic, the brand saw a drop in sales recently. Crawford and Schiffer are seen posing for Revlon

'Today's filing will allow Revlon to offer our consumers the iconic products we have delivered for decades, while providing a clearer path for our future growth,' said CEO Debra (pictured), who became head of the company in 2018, in a statement

‘Today’s filing will allow Revlon to offer our consumers the iconic products we have delivered for decades, while providing a clearer path for our future growth,’ said CEO Debra (pictured), who became head of the company in 2018, in a statement

Amid the release of celebrity makeup brands like Kylie Jenner’s Kylie Cosmetics and Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty, partnered with people staying home due to the pandemic, the brand saw a drop in sales over recent years.

‘Its sales of about $1.9 billion in 2020 were down 21 per cent from 2019 levels,’ CNBC added.

‘Though the business rebounded in 2021, Revlon’s revenue is still below pre-pandemic levels.’

In 2020, Revlon narrowly avoided filing for bankruptcy after it struck a deal with its debt holders. 

It appears that a shift in the makeup industry is currently taking place – with influencers and social media stars promoting their products to millions of followers who prefer to order things online rather than in stores.

In addition to losing sales to new cosmetic lines which are often pioneered by celebrities who capitalize on their large online following, the brand is also struggling with supply chain disruptions.

David Garfield, a consumer industry expert, told the New York Times, ‘Companies get in trouble if they fail to address major supply chain disruptions.

‘The issue there is that it can become a vicious cycle: So supply chain disruptions can cause production delays, which can cause late shipments to retailers, which can cause loss of shelf space and sales – and then the cycle repeats.’

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More