Lisa Price made no excuses to get her hair care brand off the ground.
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Entrepreneurial journey: With just $100 in cash, the company was born from Price’s Brooklyn kitchen where she started out making fragrances before narrowing her attention toward body moisturizers and butters, according to its website.
As Price expanded her reach, even selling her products at flea markets, buyers began requesting products geared toward hair care, and Price delivered.
“I would share different concoctions with family and friends,” Price said in an interview with The Helm. “Once I had perfected a body butter, my mom said, ‘You should sell this at the church flea market.’ That was the beginning of people giving me money for my products, and I began to see its potential. Then people started asking for hair care and my offerings grew. I experimented; I gave my products to stylist friends, asked for feedback, and altered the formulas. In a lot of ways, it’s still like this today, just in a more streamlined, professional kind of way.”
The entrepreneur continued to sell at an old flea market, craft fair, and then more consistently from her home. Demand increased with each new year, and she kept investing her dollars into her business without taking out any loans until 2001.
“I didn’t have good personal credit at the time and I didn’t want to do anything that involved taking on debt until I got my personal finances together. I said, ‘Let’s just see how this goes.’ I didn’t plan or even think ‘in two years, I will be here; in three years, I will be there.’ I said, ‘Okay, I am going to do this as smart as I can, as long as I can afford to, and as long as there’s demand,'” Price explained to the outlet.
The Oprah Effect
By 2002, Price had secured a slot on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and her business profited from the “Oprah Effect.” In fact, when the show aired, the Carol’s Daughter website crashed as 17,000 buyers surfed for products, per Inc.
In 2004, Price added Steve Stoute as a partner in her company, and then one year later she opened a flagship store in Harlem with backing from Jay-Z, Will Smith, and Jada Pinkett Smith. By 2007, she secured equity partners.
Selling To L'Oréal
“That’s what I needed. That’s what I wanted,” she expressed, according to The Yale Center for Business and the Environment.
Price makes it clear that although the company is no longer Black-owned, she maintains Carol’s Daughter is still Black-led. According to the official company website, Price remains responsible for “product development, brand vision, advertising and consumer communications,” as well as “educating the sales force on Carol’s Daughter.”
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“I wanted it to be the right place, a company that understood what we had built, respected our consumer, respected the work I had put in, and would want me to stay on so I could keep running the business. That is what we found with L’Oreal. I was able to be a part of the transition, come with my team, and operate within L’Oreal. So technically, are we Black-owned? No. But are we Black-founded and Black-led?” Price said, according to The Helm.