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All Gussied Up

Make money by makin' people prettier.

This story appears in the September 2000 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Before and after. We see the pictures in our dentists' offices, the ads for plastic surgeons and makeovers. And you know what? Those ads work. We all want the magic elixir that reverses the aging process or elevates our self-esteem. So it's no surprise when customers flock to Merle Norman Cosmetics Inc. (MNC) studios for a piece of that.

Before Merle Norman the franchise came Merle Norman the woman-a pioneer who manufactured her own cosmetics and started selling them in a Santa Monica, California, retail store in 1931. Norman became known for her innovative offering: the free makeover.

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