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Cornell McBride, Sr.

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Information about Cornell McBride, Sr.

Profile image of Cornell McBride, Sr.

Profession

Category:
BusinessMakers
StyleMakers
Occupation(s):
Corporate Chief Executive
Personal Care Chief Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Seafood
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Caribbean
Favorite Quote:
If there's a will, there's a way.

Birthplace

Born:
8/14/1943
Birth Location:
Savannah, Georgia

Profession

Category:
BusinessMakers
StyleMakers
Occupation(s):
Corporate Chief Executive
Personal Care Chief Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Seafood
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Caribbean
Favorite Quote:
If there's a will, there's a way.

Birthplace

Born:
8/14/1943
Birth Location:
Savannah
See how Cornell McBride, Sr. is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Cornell McBride, Sr., a pioneer in the black hair care industry, was born on August 14, 1943 in Savannah, Georgia. He is founder, president and CEO of McBride Research Laboratories, Inc. (MRL), which manufactures and distributes hair care products to international markets. McBride was raised in the poor community surrounding a sugar refinery in Savannah where his father worked. After graduating from high school in 1961, he migrated north and worked briefly for a pharmaceutical company. McBride married his high school sweetheart and joined the U.S. Air Force in 1962 and served until 1967. That same year McBride, his wife Harriet and their baby daughter moved back to Georgia. He attended Fort Valley University for three years then transferred to Mercer University in Macon where he earned a B.S. degree from the School of Pharmacy in 1973.

While at Mercer, he and his fellow classmate Therman McKenzie established M&M Products Company, developing a formula that eventually became Sta-Sof-Fro, the first product to actually soften natural black hair. By the mid-1980s, M&M Products had four national brands: Sta-Sof-Fro, Sof-N-Free, Moxie and Curly Perm. The company’s annual revenues exceeded $40 million making it one of the top Black hair care companies in the world. In 1989, after a series of business troubles, McBride and his partner sold M&M Products to Johnson Products.

McBride bounced back from financial decline in 1990 when he established McBride Research Laboratories, headquartered in Decatur, Georgia. McBride has used his talents as a registered pharmacist to develop lines of innovative products called Wave by Design and Design Essentials. His distribution network includes the utilization of product distributors as independent entrepreneurs to take the products directly to beauty salons in the United States, the Caribbean and the United Kingdom

McBride also masterminded the 24-hour beauty salon for athletes during the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. He was a founder of the American Health and Beauty Aids Institute (AHBAI) in 1982 and served as chairman of the organization from 1984 to 1986. He is a member of the Atlanta Business League, International Business Club, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, and the Society of Cosmetic Chemists. McBride recently authored A Cut Above: How Cornell McBride Made Millions in the Hair Care Biz. The book offers readers a road map for building wealth and stresses the importance of determination, family values, perseverance, goal setting and “giving back” as key components of one’s life.

McBride and his family live in Decatur, Georgia

See how Cornell McBride, Sr. is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Cornell McBride, Sr.'s interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Cornell McBride, Sr. lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Cornell McBride, Sr. describes his maternal family history
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Cornell McBride, Sr. describes his paternal family history
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Cornell McBride, Sr. talks about growing up in a mill town in Savannah, Georgia
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Cornell McBride, Sr. recalls his parents' jobs
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Cornell McBride, Sr. talks about his seven siblings
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Cornell McBride, Sr. talks about playing sports and creating games with his playmates
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Cornell McBride, Sr. talks about racial tensions between children in his neighborhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Cornell McBride, Sr. describes his father's transformation from a family man into an alcoholic
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Cornell McBride, Sr. describes how his father lost his job after a confrontation with the police
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Cornell McBride, Sr. talks about the impact of his father's job loss on his family
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Cornell McBride, Sr. recalls his elementary school years
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Cornell McBride, Sr. describes why he decided to focus on his studies after a rebellious phase
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Cornell McBride, Sr. recalls his high school teachers
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Cornell McBride, Sr. describes his early determination to become an entrepreneur
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Cornell McBride, Sr. remembers playing baseball and football in high school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Cornell McBride, Sr. recalls his admiration for his entrepreneurial uncle
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Cornell McBride, Sr. describes his exposure to the Christian church
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Cornell McBride, Sr. recalls leaving Savannah, Georgia for New York City, New York after graduating from high school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Cornell McBride, Sr. describes his first year in New York City, New York
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Cornell McBride, Sr. describes working in a pharmaceutical company, pt.1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Cornell McBride, Sr. describes working in a pharmaceutical company, pt.2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Cornell McBride, Sr. talks about joining the U.S. Air Force and encouraging his siblings to take their education seriously
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Cornell McBride, Sr. talks about serving in the U.S. Air Force as a physical training instructor at Plattsburgh Air Force Base
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Cornell McBride, Sr. describes the challenges of his early years of marriage
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Cornell McBride, Sr. recalls his experience with housing discrimination in New York
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Cornell McBride, Sr. talks about his military service in the U.S. Air Force
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Cornell McBride, Sr. describes his decision to attend Fort Valley State College in Fort Valley, Georgia
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Cornell McBride, Sr. describes supporting his family while he was enrolled at Fort Valley State College in Fort Valley, Georgia
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Cornell McBride, Sr. describes his decision to attend pharmacy school at Mercer University
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Cornell McBride, Sr. recalls the development of Sta-Sof-Fro and the founding of M&M Products Company
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Cornell McBride, Sr. talks about early mentors and learning to market Sta-Sof-Fro
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Cornell McBride, Sr. describes the rapid growth of M&M Products Company
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Cornell McBride, Sr. talks about the growth and challenges of M&M Products Company
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Cornell McBride, Sr. talks about M&M Products Company's expansion into Africa
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Cornell McBride, Sr. talks about the boycott of M&M Products Company in South Africa
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Cornell McBride, Sr. talks about M&M Products Company at its peak
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Cornell McBride, Sr. remembers the challenges of navigating M&M Products Company's financial woes
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Cornell McBride, Sr. talks about selling M&M Products Company to Johnson Products Company in 1990
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Cornell McBride, Sr. talks about the launch of Design Essentials and Wave By Design in 1991
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Cornell McBride, Sr. talks about the launch of Design Essentials and its distribution system
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Cornell McBride, Sr. describes his business model, pt.1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Cornell McBride, Sr. describes his business model, pt.2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Cornell McBride, Sr. talks about working with family members
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Cornell McBride, Sr. describes fulfilling his dream of building his mother a house
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Cornell McBride, Sr. talks about his desire to help others succeed
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Cornell McBride, Sr. describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Cornell McBride, Sr. talks about how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Cornell McBride, Sr. describes the importance of knowing history
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Cornell McBride, Sr. reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Cornell McBride, Sr. narrates his photographs