Madam C.J. Walker – Natural Hair Cosmetic Formulator, Manufacturer

Madam C.J. Walker 1867 – 1919

“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.” 
Madam C.J. Walker
July 1912

My Mentor

When I learned about Madam C.J. Walker years ago I was in complete awe of her tenacity, resilience, perseverance, business intelligence and her passion. She is a mentor of mine and I think of her often. I encourage you to read her story and learn more about her.

Natural Hair Cosmetic Formulator and Manufacturer

Madam C.J. Walker was a natural hair cosmetic formulator, manufacturer, business woman, entrepreneur and the first self-made, female millionaire. She developed products to solve a problem. The problem was hair loss with African American women. Madam C.J. Walker was experiencing hair loss and there were no products on the market for her to remedy this problem. Hair loss with African American women was common during this time.

Madam C.J. Walker created a formula and made it for her own hair. She washed her scalp and hair daily with her hair formulation she made and her hair grew back and she maintained beautiful hair.

Madam C.J. Walker was born in 1867 in Louisiana and named Sarah Breedlove. Her parents and siblings were slaves but at the time of her birth were freed slaves. Her parents died when she was only seven years old. Sarah went to live with relatives that abused her and hired her out at only ten years old for domestic help. She left this harsh situation and married at 14 years old, had a child at 17 years old and was widowed at 20 years old. Sarah then married C.J. Walker and became Madam C.J. Walker. 

Natural Hair Care Products

Madam C.J. Walker had little formal education plus an extremely hard life and yet went on to create natural hair care products for African American women. She went door to door and to churches all throughout the south to sell her products and teach African American women how to use her hair treatment products.

“I got my start by giving myself a start.”
Madam C.J. Walker

Business Owner and Self-Made Millionaire

Madam C.J. Walker started training other African American women to sell her products. Her passion was also to help empower them and create an income for them. She created the Madam C.J. Walker Hair Culturists Union and provided benefits for education, business and life insurance.

“I am not satisfied in making money for myself, I endeavor to provide employment to hundreds of women of my race.”
Madam C.J. .Walker

Madam C.J. Walker was the first self-made U.S. woman millionaire. 

“Don’t sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them.”
Madam C.J. Walker

There are several books available to learn more about her. Here are a few books:

On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C.J. Walker
by A’Lelia Bundles (her great-great-granddaughter)

Madam C.J. Walker: Inventor, Entrepreneur, Millionaire (A Notable Life Series) (Volume 1)
by Mary N Oluonye

Watch this video with her great-great-granddaughter A’Lelia Bundles:

Madam CJ Walker (click here)

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