Fashion photographer/ makeup artist Frank Toskan and salon chain owner Frank Angelo founded MAC or Makeup Artist Cosmetics or MAC Cosmetics in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, in 1984. Like the two men, the cosmetics brand was a great blend of fashion and makeup. As the name suggests, the company’s products were aimed at helping professional makeup artists who had to rely on heavy cosmetics, cake makeup and stage makeup to create the visual effects needed to withstand bright lighting during photo shoots. The two Franks designed the makeup to work with all skin colors and to reflect well on camera. The line became known for its extensive range of colors and for its individual pots of color, an innovation over the usual prepackaged combinations.
Initially, the product was only distributed among friends in the fashion industry, but word soon got out about the dense pigment, the non-oily finish of the foundations, and the color range. The demand inspired Toskan and Angelo to liquidate their property assets and invest the proceeds in Makeup Artist Cosmetics. The business was formally established in 1984, with Toskan as creative director and Angelo as marketing director. MAC moved out of the kitchen into a 10,000- foot manufacturing plant that they grew out of within twelve months.
With its hip image, its endorsement by celebrities such as like RuPaul and Madonna, and its association with many celebrated makeup artists, MAC soon became a major force as a makeup-artist brand, or a line developed by cosmeticians for models in fashion shoots or actresses in films.
In 1994, Mr. Angelo and Mr. Toskan sold 51 percent of their business to Estee Lauder Inc., which planned to expand its sales abroad, but the two men retained creative control. Cofounder Frank Angelo died in 1997 due to cardiac arrest after a surgery. The other cofounder Frank Toskan sold the whole company to Estee Lauder for an estimated $60 million in February 1998. In December 1998, Toskan resigned as creative director of MAC, no longer wanting to be a part of the company that he built. Today MAC is headquartered in New York City.
The company does no other advertising or gift-with-purchase promotions.
All retail sales from any MAC’s Viva Glam product (lipsticks, lipglasses and holiday sets) goes to the MAC Aids Fund.