Brilliant Quotes for Entrepreneurs by Madam C. J. Walker
Born in 1867, Sarah Breedlove started life in the cotton fields of the South of The USA. She was the 5th child of former slaves and was the first of her siblings to be born into freedom.
Times were extremely tough. She was orphaned at the age of 7, married at 14 and widowed by 20 with a young daughter. She was employed as a washerwoman and promoted to work in the kitchen, but she dreamed of a better life.
Suffering from hair loss, she formulated a hair growth tonic. When the tonic worked, she knew she’d struck gold.
At the suggestion of her 3rd husband (a newspaper advertising salesman) Sarah branded herself as Madam C. J. Walker – which he thought would be more memorable and marketable.
Marketing her hair care products to the Afro hair niche, the products were a huge hit. She enlisted a sales force of women to sell her products.
In 1917—two years before Mary Kay Ash of Mary Kay Cosmetics was born—Madam C. J. Walker convened her sales agents and beauty culturists for three days of training and motivation. More than 200 women—many who had been maids, cooks and sharecroppers—assembled in Philadelphia at one of the first national gatherings of women entrepreneurs. Walker gave prizes not only to the agents who had sold the most products, but to those whose local Walker clubs had contributed the most to charity.
She was so successful that she became the first female self-made millionaire in America - for any race!
By the time she died at her estate, Villa Lewaro, in Irvington-on-Hudson, New York, she had helped create the role of the 20th Century, self-made American businesswoman; established herself as a pioneer of the modern black hair-care and cosmetics industry; and set standards in the African-American community for corporate and community giving.
Tenacity and perseverance, faith in herself and in God, quality products and “honest business dealings” were the elements and strategies she prescribed for aspiring entrepreneurs who requested the secret to her rags-to-riches ascent.