Mass market cosmetics pioneer Acker passes away at 78

New York Stanley Acker, a pioneer in the mass-market beauty industry andcreator of the Wet n’ Wild value cosmetics brand, died March 6. He was 78 years old.

Known for his marketing know-how, business acumen and entrepreneurial spirit, Acker, who had worked for Cosmetically Yours, started Pavion Ltd nearly 30 years ago and developed the Wet n' Wild line of value cosmetics.

"My father saw a niche. he saw there was a market niche at 99 cents that a majority of the younger and middle class women, which really turned out to be the full range of women, would definitely go out and spent that type of money on a product and try it out," said Acker's son, Mark.

Acker was right. By 1984, the business had grown from a four-employee company run out of Acker's home in New City, N.Y. to a thriving business relocated to Nyack,N.Y. with more than 600 employees, full national retail distribution and distribution to more than 100 countries. The company had five facilities that totaled 200,000 square feet and produced in excess of 100 million pieces on an annual basis.

"Wet n' wild was a catcher. When it came to the marketing aspect, he had come up with so many unbelievable shades that, in the earlier stages of our business, our industry had never seen them,"Acker said, referring to the company's creation of a black nail polish and black lipstick.

In the late 1980s or early 1990s, the company added to its portfolio the Black Radiance and Solo Para Ti brands for women of color.

In 1997, Acker sold Pavion to AM Cosmetics in a deal valued at more than $100 million. In 2003, Markwins acquired AM Cosmetics. After selling Pavion, Acker opened beauty company Cosmetics 2K.

"His marketing abilities were so outstanding that he was well known for being ahead of the industry. People knew him for knowing what the people wanted and we gave it to them," Mark Acker said.

While industry members will undoubtedly remember Acker for his marketing expertise, his family will also remember him as a caring family man with a sense of humor, a love for fishing and a desire to travel.

Acker resided in Delray Beach, Fla., with his wife, Arlene, and summered in Nyack. He is survived by his wife; his brother, Robert; three children Karen, Mark and David and grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held on March 11 at 11 a.m. at Wanamaker & Carlough Funeral Home, 177 Route 59, Suffern, N.Y.

Contributions can be made to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

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