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Madame C.J. Walker


Madame C.J. Walker was born on 23rd December, 1867 in a plantation of cotton next to Delta in Louisiana. Her parents Minerva and Owen, who had been free from slavery, named her Sarah Breedlove. Sarah was the fifth child in their family and the first free-born child. In 1874, her mother, Minerva passed away and the following year her father, Owen died too. Sarah was left orphan while she was just seven years kid. Sarah went to live with her brother-in-law and Louvinia, her sister. In 1877, the three migrated to Vicksburg in Mississippi.

Sarah was often mistreated by her brother-in-law and as a result, at age of fourteen years, she got married to Moses McWilliams. Sarah gave birth to a girl child, A’lelia on 6th June 1885. Unfortunately, her husband, Moses passed away two years later. Sarah and her daughter had no option but to move to St. Louis where her brothers had established barber shops. Sarah was employed as a washerwoman and sent her child a public school. It is during this time when Sarah met Charles J. Walker, her second husband. Charles was working as product promoter.

Venture into Entrepreneurship

Sarah suffered a scalp disorder in early eighteen nineties. As a result, she lost much of her hair on the head. In an attempt to control her situation, Sarah started to experiment manufactured hair care medications as well as home-made treatments.

Sarah was employed by a flourishing, black, hair care products manufacturer, Annie Turbo Malone as a commission agent in 1905. Sarah and her husband moved Denver in Colorado. Charles assisted her to develop adverts for black Americans hair care medications which she was implementing. It was Charles who encouraged Sarah to use Madame C.J Walker as it was more familiar.

In 1907, Charles and Sarah travelled to the southern states of United States advertising and informing the public on the walker hair care products such as heated combs.

Madame C.J. Walker Success

As the business continued to flourish, in 1908 Madame established a school of beauty and a hair care products’ factory in Pittsburgh. After two years, Madame moved her organization to Indianapolis. By then, the business was flourishing very well making huge returns.

In Indianapolis, Madame Company manufactured hair care products and also educated sales beauticians who served as the company agents. The agents gained popularity all among the black Americans. Madame developed “cleanliness and loveliness” as her trading philosophy.

Madame developed convections and clubs for her agents that acknowledged flourishing sales as well as educational efforts among the black communities of America. Sarah Breedlove on 25th may, 1919 in her home in Irvington-on-Hudson in New York after suffering from hypertension.

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