Sally Hansen – Self-Made Beauty Industry Pioneer

Sally Hansen pic
Sally Hansen

An accomplished professional with a extensive experience in leadership and marketing, Celia Tombalakian is the vice president, Global and U.S. Marketing, at Coty, Inc., a manufacturer of beauty products. In that capacity, Celia Tombalakian manages Sally Hansen worldwide.

Sally Hansen, a household nail and beauty product brand, was established in 1946. The eponymous founder faded into obscurity after her death in 1963, leading to claims that she may not have actually existed. As Celia Tombalakian explained in an interview, consumers felt connected to the brand, leading to the heightened fascination surrounding the identity of Sally Hansen.

Celia Tombalakian explained that the company had previously tasked investigative journalists with unraveling the mystery, and, after a thorough search, they discovered that the woman behind the brand had been a beauty industry pioneer and innovator. Born in 1908, she went on to found a Beverly Hills dance school. Her accomplishments included directing Hollywood film ballet scenes. In 1935, she joined her family’s business, La Finne, a cosmetic and perfume company. She eventually became its vice president and went on to create the Sally Hansen brand.

Sally Hansen was one of the richest self-made women of her era. Celia Tombalakian commented that today the brand’s positioning today, “the power of self-made beauty,” is in line with the founder’s legacy and approach to life and business.

Personalized Products and the Future of the Beauty Industry


Celia Tombalakian
Celia Tombalakian

Since December 2017, Celia Tombalakian has worked for Coty as Vice President of Global & US Marketing. At Coty, she helps lead to new levels in beauty, consumer health, dermatology and medical aesthetic device sectors. Throughout her career, she has successfully led marketing and product development initiatives based on trends, consumer insights marketplace data. At Elizabeth Arden, Celia Tombalakian was charged with remaining apprised of the latest trends in adjacent industries as well which help shape those emerging in beauty.

As is the case in other areas of business, consumers of beauty products are starting to demand more options to meet their unique beauty and skin-care needs. In today’s Internet-driven world, information about seemingly every beauty product on the market can be located with a few simple taps and swipes on an iPhone. This increased access to information has created a more savvy and discerning consumer who isn’t always happy with the one-size-fits-all approach to product development.

In addition to adding more shades and customizable options to store shelves, beauty brands have started to meet consumer demand for personalization with the help of innovations in technology. While custom blends have been around for many years, companies like MatchCo, which was acquired by Japanese beauty giant Shiseido, have leveraged new technological advancements to give consumers the ability to create completely personalized products using their mobile device.

According to many leaders in the industry, customizable beauty is a trend that’s poised for longevity. Today, personalized treatment is driving various areas of the beauty market. In addition to makeup, consumers can customize shampoos and conditioners, fragrances, and skin-care products.

A Look at the PENCIL Internship Program

PENCIL Internship Program pic
PENCIL Internship Program

Since December 2017, Celia Tombalakian has worked for Coty as Vice President of Global & US Marketing. At Coty, she helps lead to new levels in beauty, consumer health, dermatology and medical aesthetic device sectors. Over the years, Celia Tombalakian along with other business professionals, has used this experience to led business workshops with PENCIL, an organization that helps young students work towards successful futures.

In collaboration with the NYC Department of Youth & Community Services Ladders for Leaders Program, PENCIL operates an internship program that allows students between the ages of 16 and 22 to prepare for their future careers. To qualify for the PENCIL Internship Program, individuals must reside in NYC, maintain a GPA of at least 3.0, and possess some experience with either volunteering or paid work.

At the beginning of the program, the students must participate in a minimum of 20 hours of career preparedness training that helps them build essential professional skills such as interviewing and networking. Afterwards, the students gain the opportunity to participate in a paid internship with a government entity, charitable group, or company in NYC. Over the course of six weeks, interns work hand-in-hand with dedicated mentors inside a real office setting. The PENCIL Internship Program thus enables young students to not only gain valuable professional experience but also to earn money that they can use to finance their future career endeavors.

Elizabeth Arden Insiders Community


Elizabeth Arden pic
Elizabeth Arden

A member of Cosmetic Executive Women (CEW), Celia Tombalakian is an experienced business executive in the cosmetics industry. Since December 2017, Celia Tombalakian has worked for Coty as Vice President of Global & US Marketing. At Coty, she helps lead to new levels in beauty, consumer health, dermatology and medical aesthetic device sectors. Before that she worked at Elizabeth Arden.

In recent years, Elizabeth Arden has been at the forefront of a corporate strategy that has been revolutionizing the way that huge companies have been doing business: listening to customer’s voices. It has been a buzzword among companies, with some even setting up extensive systems in order to listen better. The results have varied, however, with some companies having difficulty responding what they’ve been hearing.

Elizabeth Arden is one of the few companies that have successfully aligned its brand products and services to reflect customer’s voices. How do they do it? In getting insights, the company went beyond traditional focus groups and formed their own insider community as a means of on-going consumer engagement. The company has over 5,000 women representing their target market that greatly influence the direction of their future strategic decisions. With the consistent opinions and feedback from this group, the company has been able to make research-backed decisions on big and small matters as a means of staying relevant and providing consumers with what they really seek in beauty products.