Category Archives: Black Female Entrepreneurs

Madam C.J. Walker Entrepreneur The First Female Self-Made Millionaire In America (Black History)

Reblogged By: La Tray

Source:   Madam C.J. Walker Wikipediainventors.about.com By  /  Madam C.J. Walker Wikipedia / Madame C.J. Walker Official Site

Media: inventors.about.com / YouTube Biography Channel

Posted: Sunday February 2, 2014 @  6:21 p.m. PST

 

  • Madam C. J. Walker
    Entrepreneur
  • Sarah Breedlove, known as Madam C. J. Walker, was an American entrepreneur and philanthropist, regarded as the first female self-made millionaire in America. Wikipedia

Madame C.J. Walker (1867-1919)

“I got my start by giving myself a start.” – Madame CJ Walker

 

Sarah Breedlove McWilliams Walker, better known as Madame CJ Walker or Madame Walker, together with Marjorie Joyner revolutionized the hair care and cosmetics industry for African American women early in the 20th century.

 

Early Years

Madame CJ Walker was born in 1867 in poverty-stricken rural Louisiana. The daughter of former slaves, she was orphaned at the age of seven. Walker and her older sister survived by working in the cotton fields of Delta and Vicksburg, Mississippi. She married at age fourteen and her only daughter was born in 1885. After her husband’s death two years later, she traveled to St. Louis to join her four brothers who had established themselves as barbers. Working as a laundrywoman, she managed to save enough money to educate her daughter, and became involved in activities with the National Association of Colored Women.

 

Inspired by Need

During the 1890s, Sarah began to suffer from a scalp ailment that caused her to lose some of her hair. Embarrassed by her appearance, she experimented with a variety of home-made remedies and products made by another black woman entrepreneur, Annie Malone. In 1905, Sarah became a sales agent for Malone and moved to Denver, where she married Charles Joseph Walker.

 

Madam Walker’s Wonderful Hair Grower

Changing her name to Madame CJ Walker, Sarah founded her own business and began selling her own product called Madam Walker’s Wonderful Hair Grower, a scalp conditioning and healing formula. To promote her products, she embarked on an exhausting sales drive throughout the South and Southeast selling her products door to door, giving demonstrations, and working on sales and marketing strategies. In 1908, she opened a college in Pittsburgh to train her “hair culturists.”

 

The Walker System

Eventually, her products formed the basis of a thriving national corporation employing at one point over 3,000 people. Her Walker System, which included a broad offering of cosmetics, licensed Walker Agents, and Walker Schools offered meaningful employment and personal growth to thousands of Black women. Madame Walker’s aggressive marketing strategy combined with relentless ambition led her to be labeled as the first known African-American woman to become a self-made millionaire.

Having amassed a fortune in fifteen years, this pioneering businesswoman died at the age of 52. Her prescription for success was perseverance, hard work, faith in herself and in God, “honest business dealings” and of course, quality products. “There is no royal flower-strewn path to success,” she once observed. “And if there is, I have not found it – for if I have accomplished anything in life it is because I have been willing to work hard.”

 

Improved Permanent Wave Machine

An employee of Madame CJ Walker’s empire, Marjorie Joyner invented an improved permanent wave machine. This device patented in 1928, curled or “permed” women’s hair for a relatively lengthy period of time. The wave machine was popular among women white and black allowing for longer-lasting wavy hair styles. Joyner went on to become a prominent figure in Madame CJ Walker’s industry, though she never profited directly from her invention, the assigned intellectual property of the Walker Company.

 

Madame Walker on Herself

“I am a woman who came from the cotton fields of the South. From there I was promoted to the washtub. From there I was promoted to the cook kitchen. And from there I promoted myself into the business of manufacturing hair goods and preparations. I have built my own factory on my own ground” – Madame Walker

  • I got my start by giving myself a start.
  • I am a woman who came from the cotton fields of the South. From there I was promoted to the washtub. From there I was promoted to the cook kitchen. And from there I promoted myself into the business of manufacturing hair goods and preparations. I have built my own factory on my own ground.
  • I had to make my own living and my own opportunity. But I made it! Don’t sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them.
  • One night I had a dream, and in that dream a big black man appeared to me and told me what to mix up for my hair. I made up my mind I would begin to sell it.
  • I am not satisfied in making money for myself. I endeavour to provide employment for hundreds of the women of my race.
  • There is no royal flower-strewn path to success. And if there is, I have not found it for if I have accomplished anything in life it is because I have been willing to work hard.
  • Perseverance is my motto.

Madam Walker Commerative Stamp

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CLICK HERE: MADAM C.J. WALKER WIKIPEDIA

CLICK HERE: MADAME C.J. WALKER OFFICIAL SITE