The expansive tan brick cosmetics factory off Interstate 40 in North Little Rock has been a central Arkansas landmark for nearly half a century. This year, Maybelline, founded in Chicago inis celebrating its th anniversary while the North Little Rock factory celebrates its 40th year of operation. Today, thesquare foot plant in North Little Rock, which features increased automation, is led by Eric Fox, plant manager.

Both Maybelline and L'Oreal products are produced there as well as high-end luxury fragrances and cosmetics for other companies including Giorgio Armani, Kiehl's, Lancome, and Ralph Lauren. The facility, one of L'Oreal's five factories in North America, is nearly a start-to-finish facility with everything made there except some of the bottles and compacts.

A separate building at the plant is used The Boring Company News manufacture and package nail polish while everything else, including the company's top-selling Great Lash Mascara, are manufactured and packaged in the main building.

Inwhen Maybelline founder Tom Lyle Williams was 19, he noticed his older sister Krapf Bus Company Website applying a mixture of Vaseline and coal dust to her eyelashes to give them a fuller appearance. Using his chemistry set, he adapted the mixture and created a mail-order beautifying product he dubbed Lash-Brow-Ine and sold it through his Chicago-based company, Maybell Laboratories.

Inhe launched Maybelline combining Maybell and Vaseline cake mascara with its single-row applicator brush. Print ads in the s of the Maybell Girl with eyes closed to display her dark, lush lashes led to Williams' mascara being sold in variety and drug stores. Ina sample size of Maybelline Eyelash Beautifier sold for a dime. Soon, a refillable version in a red and gold box sold for 75 cents with refills at 35 cents.

By the s, Maybelline Eye Shadow Maybelline Company Store introduced through newspaper and movie magazine ads with stars like Betty Grable offering tips on how to apply the makeup.

By the late s, Maybelline produced Fluid Eye Liner and Iridescent Eye Shadow Sticks in jewel tones and Magic Rocket Car Company, the first mass-market "automatic" mascara in which the product adhered to the spiral brush when it was removed from its bottle. Rapid growth for Maybelline followed the arrival of Liquimatic Brow -- the first automatic, liquid brush-on brow color and waterproof Ultra Lash Mascara, which sold for a dollar.

InMaybelline was sold to Memphis-based Plough, Inc. Four years later Maybelline's headquarters Nippon Company Japan to Memphis, where vast strides were made in research, manufacturing and distribution.

InMaybelline expanded to launch its first products for the face and lips. Sales in China soon followed. While the company, as many cosmetics businesses, has come under fire from animal welfare activists, the company's website says: "L'Oreal no longer tests on animals any of its Company Secretary Blog or any of its ingredients, anywhere in the world.

Nor does L'Oreal delegate this task to others. The rare exception allowed is if regulatory authorities demand it for safety or regulatory Maybelline Company Store. Through it, the company is now producing its own 3-D skin for testing. Last year, the company introduced a beauty app that uses advanced facial mapping technology so consumers can try out new looks in real time by turning their iPhone or iPad front-facing camera into a virtual mirror.

It is partnering with engineers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to develop flexible wearable electronics to help researchers and consumers better understand skin.

Of those original employees, 31 came from the Memphis plant and distribution center, 13 were transferred from its original Chicago distribution center and the rest were new hires in Arkansas. The event will include tours for the employees' families. Inthe Maybelline Company Store bought a trucking facility next door, adding 35, square feet of space for nail color manufacturing.

And a major expansion of the main building in added anothersquare feet of warehouse and distribution space. When the company's Los Angeles distribution center was closed inthe North Little Rock factory became Maybelline's sole manufacturer and distribution center for domestic products.

Increased technology has reduced the factory's need for employees and today, it runs three Sarasota Dance Company shifts and employs to full-time and another as temporary workers.

All employees get a store credit they can use every two months. Beauty, to me, is about being comfortable in your own skin. That, or a kick-ass red lipstick. Nine of the factory's employees have been there since the Maybelline Company Store it opened.

They include Sherry DeVries, a document control coordinator, and her husband Jerry, a production team leader; Bob Giessmann, a production planner; and Steve James, one of the plant's engineers. Everyone comes out here and gets the job done. James says, "I like this area and it's always been one of the better jobs here in central Arkansas. Working on an assembly line with either a dozen or six employees -- depending upon the product -- Boyd packaged products and taped boxes of products to be shipped.

Among the North Little Rock plant's current employees, which includes several female engineers, a group of 18 young professionals aged 23 to Maybelline Company Store are part of the company's management development program. Nicole French, 23, a chemical engineer from the Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, graduated in December and began at L'Oreal in early after being recruited by the company during an on-campus career fair.

Before graduating, she spent two summer internships at the plant. L'Oreal is "leading us and guiding us so we will one day be the future of the company," French says. John Sykes Jr. Photo by John Sykes Jr. Steve James leftwho has worked at the North Little Rock factory for 40 years, listens to fellow year employee Bob Giessmann in front of a plaque outside the door The Traditional Verandah Company once was the main entrance.

Eric Fox rightplant manager, visits with Austin Morman, mascara production manager, on the floor of the Maybelline factory in North Little Rock.

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