I can’t believe that October is nearly coming to an end… time is certainly flying.
I couldn’t let the month end without writing a post in celebration of Black History Month – which is in October here on the British Isles!
There are so many inspirational people of colour that I could mention – the free newspaper ‘The Metro’, compiled a very comprehensive list as part of a nationwide poll, however I would like to celebrate some of the men and women who have contributed to the global hair and beauty industry – providing jobs and careers for thousands, enriching the lives of millions of women (and men) and making the founders of the following companies very rich indeed!!
The hair and beauty industry catering to the needs of black men and women is a flourishing sector. The US black haircare market is worth $185 million, up 4% versus the 2010 sales value, according to a recent Mintel report, and although a primarily Caucasian standard of beauty dominated the popular press and the department store counters for much of the last century – the black hair and beauty industry is not a recent phenomenon….
….Madam C.J. Walker (December 23, 1867 – May 25, 1919), born Sarah Breedlove, was an African-American businesswoman, hair care entrepreneur and philanthropist who made her fortune by developing and marketing a hugely successful line of beauty and hair products for black women under the company she founded in 1910 – the Madam C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company. She is also credited for developing the ‘hot comb’ (the forerunner of your GHDs!). According to the Guinness Book of Records, Madame Walker was the first woman to become a millionaire by her own achievements.
Other Americans who have transformed the tresses of black women worldwide include:
Drs. Joe and Eunice Dudley – Dudley Beauty Corp
Drs. Joe and Eunice Dudley probably didn’t have any idea that their small family owned operation would become one of the longest standing black-owned hair care companies when they were mixing products in their kitchen 43 years ago.
Story has it that while the husband and wife team were creating formulas, their two oldest children would help package the products at night. The rest, as they say, is history. Their oldest daughter, Ursula Dudley Oglesby, runs the North Carolina based company as President. The pioneering couple were also featured in Chris Rock’s enlightening and enjoyable 1999 docu-tainment film, Good Hair.
Fred Luster Sr. – Luster Products Inc.
When you think of Luster, you think of Luster’s Pink Oil Moisturizer, the ubiquitous hair lotion that was a staple of bathroom cabinets in black households throughout the 80’s and 90’s. The company behind the iconic brand was founded by the late Fred Luster Snr, in 1957 and is now headed by his children Jory Luster, Fred Luster II and Sonja Luster-Munis. The Chicago-based company is one of the largest black owned companies in the African-American hair care market.
Last year the ‘Pink’ line of haircare products was launched in Boots.
Lisa Price – Carol’s Daughter
Lisa Price is an entrepreneur whose 15 year old venture was started by happenstance. The products were born through an experiment with fragrances and moisturisers, intended to be given as crafted gifts to friends and family. Price named the products after her mother, Carol Price. As word of these homemade products quickly spread, Price was in business. In 1999, she opened the doors to Carol’s Daughter’s first brick-and-mortar retail location in her native Brooklyn, NY. Since then, the brand has matured forcefully with major media endorsements and high profile business partnerships – investors include Jay-Z , Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith. Price’s home-grown experiment has grown into one of the most popular ethnic beauty brands in the world.
Loving the Skin you’re In
No ode to the black hair and beauty industry would be complete without a mention of the venerable cosmetics brand Fashion Fair.
Fashion Fair was created for women of colour by the late John H. Johnson, publisher of the famous Ebony and Jet magazines. As a pioneering businessman, Johnson took the risk that most major cosmetic companies refused to take by entering the untapped market of makeup for women with deeper skin tones.
Johnson ( and his wife Eunice W. Johnson) produced the Capsule Collection, a mail-order package in 1969. Based on the overwhelming response, it was clear there was a demand for a Black cosmetics line.
Fashion Fair Cosmetics was born in 1973 . Ten years after the company opened its first U.S. counter, the company expanded its global reach with the first European initiative in London. In conjunction with the Ebony Fashion Fair, Fashion Fair cosmetics took Great Britain by storm by hosting a signature luncheon highlighting an array of products and extravagant fashions from the show. The brand recently appointed the (oh so fine!) celebrity make-up artist Sam Fine as its Creative Make-up Director.
So, what about us Brits?
It is SO exciting to see a number of Black British entrepreneurs taking the beauty industry storm – such as:
Michael Boadi – Boadicea The Victorious and Illuminum fragrances
Boadicea The Victorious was launched in 2009 by British former celebrity hairstylist Michael Boadi. He previously styled the stars including Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell, before launching his first line of fragrances, Boadicea The Victorious exclusively at Selfridges.
The Illuminum brand followed in 2007 and shot to fame earlier this year when it was reported that the Duchess of Cambridge (yes Queen Kate!) wore one of his fragrances on her big day! The Daily Mail and fragrance bloggers soon revealed that the bride wore White Gardenia Petals. Every one of the 50ml bottles in stock was sold within moments of the news breaking, and an extensive waiting list accumulated soon after. Price – a very reasonable £70 for 50 ml
Pat McGrath – Celebrity Make Up Artist
Hailing from Northampton, Pat is one of the top make-up artists in the world. She currently reigns supreme as the Global Cosmetics Creative Design Director for Procter and Gamble – the conglomerate behind some of the world’s most glamorous and powerful make up brand names- such as Max Factor, CoverGirl, SK-II and the more recently launched Dolce and Gabanna range. Constantly in demand by top celebrities such as Madonna, Oprah and Scarlett Johansson, Pat McGrath’s editorial work with top photographers like Steven Meisel for Italian and American Vogue continually breaks new ground.
Daniel Vauud – the future of Fragrance creation
St Lucian born Daniel Vaudd is an inspirational young man. A certified Cosmetic Scientist, Daniel trained under evaluative perfumer John Ayres, the Director of the UK Fragrance Foundation, who taught him about the clarity and structure of perfume and how to refine his abilities. Soon, he was asked to become the Global Colour Cosmetic Researcher for a major multinational, developing new and individual colours, as well as fragrances, for their cosmetic ranges.
A chance encounter with the world’s sole ‘ Professeur de parfum’, Roja Dove, led Dove to ask Daniel to be his personal researcher on the project ‘Essence of Perfume’ by Roja Dove. With his instincts and talents and his ever-broadening abilities and experience, Daniel soon began receiving requests to craft bespoke perfumes himself.
In 2010 Daniel launched his own line of fragrance – The House of Daniel Vaudd.
Just a few names of the movers and shakers in the UK beauty industry… I am sure I will be celebrating their talent for many years to come.