In celebration of Women’s History Month, Frownies would like to share its origin story – arguably one of the most unique female-founded business stories of all time!
It may be hard to believe, but Frownies was invented in 1889 by a mother-daughter duo.
“At an age where women stayed home and had babies, [Frownies inventor, Margaret Kroesen] had to go out and earn a living, having buried a husband who left her with a mountain of debt. She started her little business [Frownies!] in the attic,” the late Peggy Wright said in a video interview.
Why is Women’s History Month Important?
Women's History Month, which began in 1981, is celebrated every March across the United States to honor women's achievements and contributions.
Women's History Month is an opportunity to honor the past and present of women in America. The history of women's rights in the United States includes many important moments in history and people that helped pave the way for equality.
The history of women in business dates back centuries, with some notable entrepreneurs even before the United States was founded. Women-owned businesses have come a long way since then! In 2017 alone, there were over 9 million businesses owned by women across all sectors – and these numbers are only expected to grow as more people seek out opportunities for self-employment and entrepreneurship.
The History of Frownies
Before many women were in the workforce, before woman owned businesses, even before women had the right to vote, Frownies has been owned and operated by strong, independent women since their invention in 1889.
Margaret Kroesen invited Frownies in 1889 with her daughter Alice in mind.
Alice was a concert pianist and a model. Because of sitting at the piano and furrowing her brow in concentration, she started to develop eleven lines between her eyes.
Margaret and Alice came up with the concept of Frownies Facial Patches – paper patches with a water-activated adhesive that holds the facial muscles still.
Before Botox, women from Broadway to Hollywood used Frownies to soften and smooth wrinkles and fine lines. Now, Frownies is the number one non-invasive alternative to Botox.
Frownies’ Female Founders
In honor of Women’s History Month, Frownies would like to highlight the accomplishments of the five generations of women who have led this female-founded, family business.
Margaret Kroesen (1873 - 1962)
Margaret Kroesen was the oldest of eight children to Irish immigrants. As a young woman, Margaret worked for a bank as an assistant to the bank manager. She eventually worked her way up to managing director of the bank-owned B&P Company which, at the time, sold barber supplies. However, the business was struggling, but Margaret bought the company from the bank and began to sell her own invention – the “Wrinkle Eradicator” that would eventually come to be known as Frownies Facial Patches.
In her own home, Margaret rolled an adhesive onto weighted paper and used a special perforating tool to cut the paper into the small patch shapes that could be wetted and applied to form a cast to lift the skin and relax the muscle – and the technology has basically remained the same ever since!
Alice Laumer (1893 - 1953)
Margaret and her late husband had one daughter, Alice. Alice became a well-known concert pianist. She traveled the country with her mother Margaret – and later with her own daughter Peggy – playing shows including many appearances at Carnegie Hall in New York and most notably for President and First Lady Coolidge at the White House.
Alice’s mother Margaret would bring her “Wrinkle Eradicators” with her to share with Broadway performers and make-up artists. Eventually, the little box of Frownies Facial Patches made its way all the way to California where they became known as “Hollywood’s Best Kept Beauty Secret.”
After Alice’s husband passed away, she and her infant daughter Peggy moved back in with her mother Margaret, and the three women ran the business out of their home.
Frownies were mostly advertised by word of mouth – the women responded to letters from all over the world from customers ordering Frownies Facial Patches.
Peggy Wright (1923 - 2018)
When Peggy became an adult and married her husband, she became a businesswoman in her own right. She assisted her husband’s business ventures and entertained his clients and their wives while continuing to make and sell Frownies Facial Patches.
Peggy and her husband eventually bought a building in Cleveland, Ohio. Half was used for her husband’s business and half was kept as Peggy’s office and the Frownies warehouse.
Peggy, like her grandmother Margaret, continued to run the family business well into her late 80s.
Kat, Peggy’s daughter-in-law, is the current CEO of Frownies. Kat has always been an entrepreneur at heart. She has written two books, opened a yoga studio, taught cooking classes, and run a healing practice as a naturopathic doctor – all while raising her five children.
Kat began working alongside her mother-in-law, Peggy in the early 1990s and took a more full-time role with the company in the early 2000s.
Kat brought her wealth of natural health knowledge to the company to expand the Frownies brand with a natural skincare line including serums, moisturizers, and lotions.
Kat is always researching the most innovative natural skincare ingredients to continue to elevate the Frownies brand while staying true to the Original Wrinkle Patch.
The Next Generation of Frownies Women
The fifth generation of Frownies women have brought Frownies Facial Patches into the modern era. Kat’s three daughters, the great-great-granddaughters of the Frownies inventor, have been involved in the family business from an early age.
Reminiscent of their grandmother Peggy’s childhood, some of their first memories were of helping in the warehouse folding and packaging Frownies Facial Patches alongside their mother and grandmother.
Like their great-great-grandmother Margaret, Kat’s three daughters are entrepreneurial and have started their own businesses in health, wellness, fitness, fashion, marketing, and make-up.
In 2020, Kat’s oldest daughter, Helen Morrison joined the Frownies’ team full-time as Director of Brand Strategy.
As the face of Frownies across social media platforms, Helen has quickly taken Frownies Facial Patches viral! Helen has led the brand to exponential growth through her transparency and accessibility across social media channels.
Frownies Goes Viral!
In 2021, Frownies went viral on TikTok and now has over 255 Million views!
In fact, “Frownies” was the #3 searched term in all of beauty on Google in 2021.
Impressively, Frownies has over 13,000 five-star reviews on Amazon!
Staying True to Frownies’ Roots
Frownies strives to maintain the personal customer service that the Frownies customers have always appreciated since 1889.
“Frownies Facial Patches have always been marketed by word-of-mouth,” Helen says. “Now we are using the modern-day “word-of-mouth” – social media – to continue our grass-roots marketing.”
Helen goes on to share that Frownies’ secret to standing out beyond the viral TikTok videos and Instagram reels is the individual interactions with their customers.
“My great-great-grandmother would hand-write responses to letters from women ordering Frownies Facial Patches from all over the world,” Helen notes. “Now, if a customer sends a message on Instagram, I personally respond, often with a voice message. I am always happy to give application tips if a customer sends me a picture of their problem areas or the placement of their facial patches.”
Exceptional Customer Service
And Frownies’ customers notice the difference!
Frownies is proud to be known as a fifth-generation, female-founded brand. When you purchase Frownies, you are literally a part of women making history!