In the late 1920′s Gail decided to buy a bike and ride from the mid-west to California in order to find work. She lived in a farm community that had been effected by the dust bowl. She had never ridden a bike before and was too embarrassed to have anyone show her how. So, she took that bike out to a field and taught herself. That’s Gail. A self motivated, self-made woman. She found out it was a lot easier to ride a bike once you were on a paved road.
Richard Engle was from money, but his parents didn’t feel that privilege and money should be handed to a young man. They believed that it is important for children to earn their own way.
We don’t know where Gail and Richard met, but we do know it was fireworks from the start.
Gail and Richard (affectionately known as Dick) married in the early 30′s and started a family on Richard’s meager salary. One thing they had in common was that they both had bad skin. A friend introduced them to Viola Lossier, a chemist who had developed a skin care line but didn’t know how to sell it. Viola’s products worked perfectly! For the first time in their lives they had perfect Hollywood Skin.
Viola and the Engels joined forces to start a beauty company. The company was first known as “Beauty Creators,” but after a few years it was decided that “Gail Richards” was a better name. The creams were made in Los Angeles and sold through distributers around the country until the mid 1980s.
Gail was the brains behind the operation. Richard was the one with the connections. Many stars of both stage and screen used the creams. The Velvetone Makeup photographed so beautifully that makeup artists preferred it to help the cinematographers create that ethereal glow many photos and films from that era are known for. And nothing beats Cleansing Cream for removing heavy stage makeup in just one step. Even Jack Lalane used Gail Richards and sold it at his health spa.
Gail Richards was the first company that did home show parties. You could only buy the product from a dealer that had been trained by Gail. Dealers would then have a party at a friend’s home to show the product line ~much like Mary Kay. In fact, Gail Richards was the first skin care company to sell through this method.
Edna Burt was the highest selling dealer for most of the 1970′s and 80′s. More about how Edna acquired the company next week…