Business

A Black Cosmetic Company Sells, or Sells Out?

lisa-price-carols-daughter
Carol’s Daughter creator, Lisa Price

Karen Brigsby Bates, NPR

(NPR.com)—Cosmetics giant L’Oréal purchased Carol’s Daughter, a beauty company that sells natural hair and skin products for black women, earlier this week. It may seem like an unlikely chapter in the story of a business that began in a Brooklyn kitchen.

That story began in 1993, when Lisa Price began blending body butters, oils and natural fragrances in her Brooklyn home. At her mother’s urging, Price brought the goods to craft fairs and began to sell them. Those products sold well and did even better when she added hair care for black women who, like her, wore their hair in its natural, unstraightened state.

Two decades later, that kitchen-born brand has a devoted following among African-American women. Carol’s Daughter items now sit on shelves at Target, Sephora and Ulta and are sometimes sold on the Home Shopping Network. At one point, Price even expanded to seven brick-and-mortar boutiques, where customers could get advice and demonstrations on how to use the products. Carol’s Daughter earned an estimated $27 million in sales last year and claims celebrity fans including Jada Pinkett Smith, Gabrielle Union and Mary J. Blige.

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