Sarah Breedlove Walker

Born: Dec. 23, 1867, near Delta, LA

Died: May 25, 1919

Company: Madam CJ Walker Manufacturing Company

Industry: Cosmetics

Position: Founder

Country: United States

Sarah Breedlove Walker (Madam C.J. Walker) is the founder of Madam C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company, which manufactured cosmetics and haircare products for black women.

Born to recently freed slaves in 1867, Louisiana native Sarah Breedlove Walker transcended poverty, illiteracy, and prejudice to become one of the most important businesswomen in America. Ms. Walker was one of the first women of any race or rank to become a self made millionaire.

In 1905 she invented a process for straightening the hair of African-Americans. Using her process, combining her unique formula with brushes and heated combs, she founded her own business and began selling Madam Walker's Wonderful Hair Grower, a scalp conditioning and healing formula. Promoted her products by embarking on an exhausting sales drive throughout America and the Caribbean, selling her products door to door, giving demonstrations and working on developing new products.

The Walker System, which included a broad range of cosmetics, licensed Walker Agents, and Walker Schools offered meaningful employment and personal growth to thousands of Black women. The corporation at one point employed over 3,000 people. If this woman with little education and living in a time when blacks where just leaving the plantation, can uplife herseft to create a business that employed thousands of her people. What excuse do you have for not going after your goals?

"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."

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