Stanley Acker — the founder of Pavion, the firm that created the value cosmetics business — died March 6 at the age of 78. Acker was well respected in the mass market industry for his knack for knowing what women wanted from fashion for under a dollar. He also created makeup lines for African-American woman, such as Black Radiance.

After helping found a line called Cosmetically Yours, Acker turned his garage into the launching pad for Pavion. The firm quickly grew to a booming business with multiple facilities and the capacity to fill more than 250,000 lipsticks a day at its main factory. Wet ‘n’ Wild became the leading budget brand and several of its items were the top-selling stockkeeping units in mass doors. The brand also expanded internationally to more than 125 countries.

This story first appeared in the March 14, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Acker sold Pavion twice — once to British investors in 1985 and later to AM Cosmetics. He repurchased Pavion from the British company and rebuilt it before selling to AM Cosmetics in 1997, in a deal valued at more than $100 million. In 2003, Markwins International acquired AM Cosmetics. Acker went on to found other beauty lines, including Uptown Girl and Hugs and Kisses under a new company called Cosmetics 2000. Rite Aid’s category manager, Judy Wray, called Acker an entrepreneur who built an industry out of 99 cent cosmetics. Acker resided in Delray Beach, Fla., with his wife, Arlene, and summered in Nyack, N.Y. He is survived by his wife; his brother, Robert; three children, Karen, Mark and David, and grandchildren. Contributions may be made to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

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