E. Scott Beattie firmly planted one foot in the beauty industry when he founded FFI Fragrances (formerly French Fragrances) in 1992 through his role as a private equity investor. His background in finance, particularly investment banking, helped Beattie engineer the bold acquisition of the Elizabeth Arden and Elizabeth Taylor brands in January 2001 from Unilever. The acquisition, which would be the first of many, more than doubled the size of the business and elevated the company from a small U.S. fragrance firm to a global beauty company with a new name, Elizabeth Arden Inc. Today, Arden’s sales surpass $1.3 billion, and the firm has 3,000 employees globally overseeing 165 owned and licensed brands.
Profits shot up 61 percent in the second quarter. What do you attribute Arden’s stellar performance to? The performance was really driven by our international business. We’ve also spent the last couple of years focused on reengineering a number of our business processes so that we could become much more of a global business. Much of the improvement in profitability is coming from initiatives to improve our productivity and efficiency. They are not the sexy part of the beauty industry—things like supply chain, demand planning, a new enterprise information system and migrating toward a shared services environment—but they are things that allow us to accelerate our growth going forward and also accelerate our profitability.
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