The acquisition of BaByliss in 1995 blew the door of the European sales market wide open. Conair Corporation had become a major presence in Europe overnight.
in earnest in the early ‘90s. Lee was one of the first United States business owners into the new Russia, making the trip with Armand Hammer shortly after the 1989 collapse of the Soviet Union. Strategist that he is, he went in early to get the lay of the land. In 1993, the company entered into a long-term licensing agreement with Revlon for Western Europe. Less than a year later, Lee signed a licensing agreement with Richardson-Vicks, today part of Procter & Gamble. This allowed Conair to use the Vidal Sassoon name for personal care appliances and accessories throughout the Far East. That same year, 1994, Conair Far East Limited was formed in Hong Kong to begin selling Vidal Sassoon, and in 1995 Conair Australia Pty. Ltd. was established to market Vidal Sassoon appliances “down under.” Conair was going global at the speed of light, and Lee was putting together a team to make it happen. The volume of products being distributed domestically and internationally required more space, and a new location had to be strategically positioned for the rapidly growing inventory and ever-changing market. The company decided to replace the Phoenix facility with a larger, more high-tech complex in Glendale, Arizona. A 350,000-square-foot distribution center was built on one hundred acres, and a foreign trade zone, where duty is deferred until product is sold, was established on the site to enable worldwide distribution flexibility.