The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon
Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

Barbara Samuels

Share on Social Media

Information about Barbara Samuels

Profile image of Barbara Samuels

Profession

Category:
StyleMakers
Occupation(s):
Business Consultant
Retail Buyer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Orange
Favorite Food:
Japanese Food
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Paris, France
Favorite Quote:
Isn't That Amazing?

Birthplace

Born:
8/15/1937
Birth Location:
Gary, Indiana

Profession

Category:
StyleMakers
Occupation(s):
Business Consultant
Retail Buyer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Orange
Favorite Food:
Japanese Food
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Paris, France
Favorite Quote:
Isn't That Amazing?

Birthplace

Born:
8/15/1937
Birth Location:
Gary
See how Barbara Samuels is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Founder and president of THE LION'S SHARE, INC. Barbara Samuels was born August 15, 1937, in Gary, Indiana. The daughter of Blanche and Dr. John Wilson, Samuels grew up in Chicago where she attended Burke Elementary School and graduated in 1955 from Lucy Flower Vocational High School. She then attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Chicago State University.

Her career began at Sears Roebuck and Company in 1963 as a copywriter for the Sears & Roebuck Catalog. She was the first African American to hold that position. Samuels worked as part of a design team at Sears & Roebuck that made household accessories including lighting fixtures, dinnerware and tabletop items. Samuels was then promoted to buyer of handbags and later to national buyer of casual footwear. In 1998, she was named global "Buyer of the Year," winning out over 300 other contestants. She was also one of the first African Americans to visit many of the manufacturing facilities abroad.

After an early retirement, Samuels launched THE LION'S SHARE in 1994. The firm offers practical, profit oriented advice for fledgling designers, merchants and small companies in the fashion industry. Samuels organizes fashion shows for major organizations and charities such as the Jesse Owens Foundation, the Chicago Urban League, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, and the American Academy of Pediatrics. As a media personality, she has participated in fashion segments on Channel 32 Fox TV, WVON Radio, and the Bertrice Berry Show. Samuels was wardrobe and set design consultant for public television's America's Family Kitchen with VertaMae Grosvenor. She has also written a fashion column for N’DIGO. Samuels serves as board member or officer of several fashion-related entities, including Fashion Group International, the Apparel Industry Board, Inc. of Illinois, GenArt, The Color of Fashion, the Leaguers of the Chicago Urban League and the Costume Committee of the Chicago Historical Society.

Samuels has two sons, Michael and Gregory. She resides on Chicago's North Side.

See how Barbara Samuels is related to other HistoryMakers
Loading...
Click Here To Explore The Archive Today!
  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Barbara Samuels's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Barbara Samuels lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Barbara Samuels describes her mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Barbara Samuels describes her father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Barbara Samuels describes her mother's upbringing
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Barbara Samuels describes her mother's life raising three children in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Barbara Samuels remembers a traumatic childhood injury in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Barbara Samuels describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Barbara Samuels describes her grade school years at Burke Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Barbara Samuels describes her experience at Lucy Flower High School in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Barbara Samuels remembers visiting the Regal Theater and the Chicago Theater in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Barbara Samuels remembers meeting famous actors during her teenage years
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Barbara Samuels remembers experiences with the faculty and racial discrimination at Lucy Flower High School in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Barbara Samuels shares memories from her time at Lucy Flower High School in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Barbara Samuels describes her years at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Barbara Samuels describes her job at the Chicago Urban League, including work with HistoryMaker Harry Belafonte
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Barbara Samuels describes her first years as a copywriter in the clothing business
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Barbara Samuels recalls experiencing harassment as the first black female copywriter at Sears, Roebuck & Co.
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Barbara Samuels recalls changes in culture and fashions during the 1960s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Barbara Samuels describes her promotion from copywriter to retail buyer at Sears, Roebuck & Co.
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Barbara Samuels remembers the aftermath of the assassination of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Barbara Samuels describes her attempts to change the corporate culture at Sears, Roebuck & Co.
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Barbara Samuels recalls winning the Buyer of the Year award while at Sears, Roebuck & Co.
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Barbara Samuels explains her reasons for leaving her job at Sears, Roebuck & Co. in 1993
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Barbara Samuels describes her involvement in the fashion industry and founding her own company during the 1990s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Barbara Samuels talks about her time as a fashion writer for N'DIGO
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Barbara Samuels describes some of her favorite advancements in fashion during her lifetime
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Barbara Samuels reflects upon on trends and technological advancements in fashion
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Barbara Samuels comments on style trends among African American men
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Barbara Samuels describes changes in corporate fashion in the late 20th century
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Barbara Samuels describes the influence of hip hop on modern fashion trends
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Barbara Samuels talks about the disconnect between high fashion and average consumers
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Barbara Samuels talks about how an individual's clothing and style can reflect their personality
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Barbara Samuels describes global influences in the fashion world
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Barbara Samuels describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Barbara Samuels reflects upon her legacy
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Barbara Samuels talks about how she would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Barbara Samuels narrates her photographs