70 Hungarian postcards to the 70-year-old Israel
Gigi: The 60-year-old cosmetic empire founded by a Hungarian Holocaust survivor
By Sivan Erush - 2018-02-18
Translated from the Hungarian original: Bea Sara Goll
Eliezer Landau was only 17 years old when the Nazis invaded Hungary and deported the Jews. The young Landau survived the Shoa and, after the war, he studied chemistry. At the beginning of the 50s, he made aliyah to Israel and was employed at the Kraus Laboratory, which at that time was the only one to create beauty products for Israeli cosmetics. Landau quickly assimilated and in 1957 founded his own small-scale cosmetics manufacturing facility in a 12-square-foot room in the Marmorek Street of Tel-Aviv. His first product was a resin used for hair removal.
The company was named after a then popular American musical, Gigi, for Landau was very fond of the title character played by Leslie Caron.
The founder was convinced that beauty was achievable to all women, and his company has contributed high-quality cosmetic articles to assist this goal. Gigi became known as the innovative company that was the first Israeli manufacturer to launch hypoallergenic products. Gigi, in cooperation with scientists from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, was also the second one in the world to use a formula of active oxygen. In the six decades of its history, the company has implemented many industry developments, which were later regarded by competitors as the standard.
Today, Gigi carries more than 400 products; these can only be bought by cosmeticians who have attended the company's world-wide training sessions. About half the products are small-scale retailed products, but only in expert cosmetics salons.
After the change of the regime, Landau made intense efforts to conquer the Hungarian market. He wanted to show that, despite the country's attempts to destroy the Jews, he would return to his home country as a victor. He definitely won over the Hungarian market, where, despite numerous competitors, Gigi is the market leader, with over 3000 beauticians using the company's products.
After the passing of the founder in 2002, the company's management was taken over by his son, Ron Landau, and the company is now one of the largest Israeli exporters. Gigi, after the conquest of Europe and the United States, focuses on Asia in the 21st century, and has recently opened a subsidiary in Hong Kong. 70 percent of Gigi's products are exported. The company's products are used in more than 40 countries by professional cosmeticians to their customers' great satisfaction.
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