Saving A Troubled Brand

Caswell-Massey, the history-rich toiletries company, owes its life--and its new glow--to Anne Robinson

Something was terribly wrong. It was the summer of 1995, and as Anne E. Robinson, 41, the new head of Caswell-Massey's wholesale division, took inventory at the toiletry company's cluttered Edison (N.J.) warehouse, she was shocked at the "disorderly mess" before her. A junkyard was more like it. Boxes of returned goods stretched out "three pallets deep and three pallets wide. You needed scuba gear to get into it," recalls Robinson. In another section, there were huge quantities of discolored and half-evaporated bottles, years past their expiration dates. Robinson began to wonder what she'd gotten herself into.

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