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Lisa Price

Beauty products entrepreneur Lisa Price was born on May 18, 1962 in Brooklyn, New York. She is the founder of Carol’s Daughter, one of the first African American-owned product lines with a flagship store. During her childhood, she remembers the smell of the soap her grandmother made at their Brooklyn brownstone. Price attended public schools in New York, where she received her high school diploma.

In 1990, Price began making creams and lotions based on natural materials in her kitchen. Encouraged by family members and friends, she began Carol’s Daughter from her home in 1993. Her customers soon multiplied. By 1999, Price added mail-order, website and walk-in customers and her business moved from the parlor floor of her brownstone to a formal store in Brooklyn’s upscale Fort Greene area.

Supported by a staff of twenty-three, the Carol’s Daughter line boasts more than 300 aromatic products for the face, hair, body and home. Her clientele include celebrities like Jada Pinkett Smith, Will Smith, Halle Berry, Chaka Khan and Oprah Winfrey. In 2002, Carol’s Daughter grossed more than $2.25 million in sales. In 2004, Price along with Hillary Beard wrote her memoir, entitled Success Never Smelled So Sweet: How I Followed My Nose and Found My Passion. In 2005, a group of investors assisted her in opening a flagship store in Harlem on 125th Street.

Price makes time to give back to the community. Carol’s Daughter donates monies, goods and services to not-for-profit organizations including the Arthur Ashe Foundation, Hale House, and the September 11th Fund. Her college speaking engagements and seminars encourage others to become entrepreneurs. Carol’s Daughter’s products are distributed nationwide.

Price lives in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn with her husband, Gordon, and sons Forrest and Ennis.

Accession Number

A2006.134

Sex

Female

Interview Date

11/8/2006

Last Name

Price

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

P.S. 262 El Hajj Malik El Shabazz Elementary School

Calvary and Saint Cyprian's Church

Saint Augustine's School

Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts

City College of New York

First Name

Lisa

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

PRI06

Favorite Season

Fall

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Miami, Florida

Favorite Quote

This Too Shall Pass.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

5/18/1962

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pasta With Ground Turkey

Short Description

Personal care entrepreneur Lisa Price (1962 - ) founded Carol’s Daughter, which grew from its homespun beginnings to a line of over 300 aromatic products and a flagship store in Harlem, New York.

Employment

Carol's Daughter

American Express and America One

United Nations

'The Cosby Show'

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
30,0:3753,92:4702,106:10104,216:11491,244:13608,286:14119,294:14776,306:15287,314:16528,347:17769,369:18791,377:21127,413:21565,432:23828,510:24631,527:34420,610:35050,622:35400,628:36170,637:37080,661:39040,699:41280,746:44305,761:45277,775:45601,780:46330,787:50137,873:54714,935:55897,963:61448,1048:63359,1071:68091,1137:85937,1357:86518,1367:87680,1396:94403,1539:104992,1647:105576,1656:105868,1661:106160,1666:111197,1767:116088,1872:116526,1879:119592,1949:123826,2023:124337,2032:126965,2085:127257,2090:127695,2100:136256,2163:137336,2192:140072,2262:140360,2268:141008,2279:143150,2294$0,0:516,8:2150,35:4644,77:10008,124:10344,129:11016,139:12528,158:13284,169:16812,222:17232,228:20760,277:22524,306:23028,313:23364,318:24204,329:24708,336:29520,354:30038,363:30408,370:30778,376:34182,444:35070,460:35662,468:37290,508:38696,526:39288,535:40990,572:42026,587:42470,594:43284,608:50314,745:50832,754:56540,781:58780,823:60380,847:62780,908:72140,1106:73740,1128:74460,1139:74940,1146:76220,1181:92541,1480:93252,1492:94990,1523:95622,1534:96096,1542:97518,1569:117919,1923:118307,1928:124846,2083:128938,2186:130364,2227:130612,2232:139600,2342:139868,2347:141141,2370:148347,2472:149203,2550:165056,2729:170038,2784:173132,2840:174042,2852:174406,2857:178956,2931:184160,2966:187160,3040:188135,3057:189785,3091:193910,3175:194210,3180:194510,3185:202244,3254:202516,3259:202992,3268:211968,3486:213872,3529:217752,3553:225276,3705:225884,3718:227404,3756:230672,3828:235000,3849:235630,3865:237590,3902:237870,3907:241580,3982:241930,3988:243680,4025:247320,4121:247600,4126:248510,4140:248790,4145:250120,4168:251380,4207:253410,4246:259900,4283
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Lisa Price's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Lisa Price lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Lisa Price describes her mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Lisa Price describes her mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Lisa Price describes her maternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Lisa Price describes her father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Lisa Price describes his father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Lisa Price describes her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Lisa Price remembers her childhood in Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Lisa Price remembers her father's Christmas celebrations

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Lisa Price recalls what she knew of the Civil Rights Movement as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Lisa Price describes her family's beauty products

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Lisa Price describes her neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Lisa Price describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Lisa Price describes her elementary schools in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Lisa Price describes her decision to attend the High School of Music and Art

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Lisa Price remembers African American television shows from her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Lisa Price recalls entertainers and civil rights leaders from her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Lisa Price describes her experiences of racial discrimination in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Lisa Price remembers her role model at the High School of Music and Art

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Lisa Price describes her appearance in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Lisa Price recalls her extracurricular activities at the High School of Music and Art

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Lisa Price describes her experience at the City College of New York

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Lisa Price describes her experiences in the Ausar Auset Society

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Lisa Price describes her first marriage

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Lisa Price reflects upon her time with the Ausar Auset Society

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Lisa Price talks about the perceptions of her and her beauty products

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Lisa Price remembers creating her first fragrance

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Lisa Price explains how Prince inspired on her first fragrance

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Lisa Price recalls her early years of making beauty products

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Lisa Price describes her work as a writer's assistant on 'The Cosby Show'

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Lisa Price describes her decision to start a beauty products company

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Lisa Price remembers making her first body butter lotion

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Lisa Price describes the early years of her business, Carol's Daughter

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Lisa Price describes the first Carol's Daughter store

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Lisa Price describes the growth of Carol's Daughter

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Lisa Price recalls her business being featured in Essence magazine

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Lisa Price recalls her business' need for a commercial storefront

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Lisa Price remembers her first commercial storefront for Carol's Daughter

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Lisa Price describes how she met her husband, Gordon Price

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Lisa Price recalls raising the funds to lease her first commercial storefront

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Lisa Price recalls the grand opening of the first Carol's Daughter store

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Lisa Price talks about her customers at Carol's Daughter

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Lisa Price talks about appearing on 'The Oprah Winfrey Show'

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Lisa Price remembers meeting her business partner, Steve Stoute, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Lisa Price remembers meeting her business partner, Steve Stoute, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Lisa Price describes the grand opening of the Carol's Daughter flagship store

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Lisa Price describes the celebrity endorsements of Carol's Daughter, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Lisa Price reflects upon Carol's Daughter's African American brand identity

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Lisa Price describes her hopes for Carol's Daughter

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Lisa Price reflects upon the success of Carol's Daughter

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Lisa Price describes her mother's thoughts about Carol's Daughter

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Lisa Price talks about Carol's Daughter as a lifestyle brand

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Lisa Price describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Lisa Price reflects upon the importance of history

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Lisa Price reflects upon her life

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Lisa Price describes the celebrity endorsements of Carol's Daughter, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 12 - Lisa Price talks about her book, 'Success Never Smelled So Sweet'

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

3$4

DATitle
Lisa Price describes her family's beauty products
Lisa Price remembers making her first body butter lotion
Transcript
What did you mother [Carol Warwell Hutson] use on your hair to comb it, to style it? Do you remember what products she used? How did you wear did you hair as a child?$$It was in pigtails and braids. My hair was, was kind of thick so I couldn't really wear it out. If it was out, it was because someone was getting married or, you know, there were school pictures being take. I remember DuSharme. It was a product that my [maternal] grandmother [Marguerite King Warwell] used that my mom would use. It was this white cream in a white jar with a pink lid. And, there was another one called Vitapointe. It wasn't until I was about thirteen that, you know, we used things like Ultra Sheen. Like eleven, thirteen that's when Ultra Sheen came into the house.$$Do you remember what your mother used on her hair? What did her hair look like? Did she straighten it? Did she wear it natural?$$She didn't straighten it, well, no, I shouldn't say that. She did straighten it sometimes with, there, there's a product called Curl Free which was actual a relaxer that Jewish women used that had very thick hair. So, it was a bit milder than, you know, like a Revlon relaxer which would tend to make our hair a bit too straight. So, my family would use Curl Free. So, you could really tell when someone put one in their hair or not because their hair wasn't as kinky. But, that was, that was what they used. So, whenever my mom use, used it, I'm not sure. But, then she went through a period in the '70s [1970s] when she and my dad [Robert Hairston, Jr.] separate where she was wearing her fro, her curly fro and she didn't use the Curl Free anymore.$$So, do you remember what your mother smelled like? What, what did she--or, did she inspire you in anyway?$$No. She really wasn't a perfume person. I think my mom wore more fragrances when I act- when I started to make them then she did before that. Again, she kind of smelled like Pond's cold cream. She wasn't a makeup person. She put makeup on when she was going out, not when she was going to work, you know, she was going out. So, you know, the same bottle of foundation and the same lipstick were in the medicine cabinet, just to give you a clue, the makeup was in the medicine cabinet (laughter), and it fit (laughter). That, that's all that she used--$Back to that first flea market and making and the body butter, where did the concept of body butter come from?$$Well, I had been trying to make a moisturizer when I had first gotten that book on essential oils. There were basic recipes in that book for lotions and pomades and things. And, I was trying to follow this recipe but wasn't able to get it to come out right. Every time I tried to make it, it would separate. But, I would write down what I did each time so that I could tweak it and try to get it right. And, I was watching television one night and there was a commercial for Duncan Hines and the person was whipping the batter with the hand mixer. And, I looked at the mixer and looked at the batter and I thought, what if I whip it until it cools, then maybe it won't separate. Because I was putting it in the refrigerator as per the instructions for it to cool and that's where the whole thing would fall apart. So, I did that, and it worked. And, I ran up and down my apartment like yelling and screaming, "I figured out how to make the butter, I figured out how to make the butter." And, I called it body butter because it looked like the batter from my [maternal] grandmother's [Marguerite King Warwell] butter cake. And, you know, I thought of it as food for your skin. So, I didn't realize at the time that The Body Shop was calling their stuff body butter 'cause I didn't go to The Body Shop because it was so new, you know. So, you know, I didn't do anything original. I thought it was original at the time. But, that's, that's where I go the name from.$$So, you made up this, the body butter. What containers did you put it in to take to the first flea market?$$Baby food jars--$$So, you--$$Like my grandmother did. My, my, it was my mother's [Carol Warwell Hutson] suggestions because I was like, "What am I gonna put it in?" And, she said, "Well, what don't you use baby food jars?" And, my mom had just adopted one of my sisters at that time, and she was baby. And, New York City [New York, New York] had just started the recycling thing. So, she had all of these jars in her recycling bin that, you know, she had already washed and, you know. So, she said, "I won't throw 'em out. You know, you could take them and sterilize them like Nana did and put her creams in there." So, I did that, and I handmade the labels with magic markets and like white file folder labels and I drew flowers on them and wrote the name on it.$$Are any of those still around?$$No.$$(Laughter).$$Had I known then (laughter), that it could be, you know, in a museum somewhere, I would've saved one (laughter).$$So, you said you, so the first one you sold out, you sold out of all of the body butters?$$Um-hm.$$And, that's was, inspired you to get all the boxes--how did you go from just that to having a room full of boxes?$$Well, I kept finding out more things and I kept being more fascinated by it. And, then I would, I would read. Like, I would find a product that I liked and then I would turn it around and read the ingredients and pick out all the things that I knew I could get my hands on. So, then I'd go get them and sort of figure out, okay, how do I, how do I make this work? When I tried to make shampoo, I knew all of the herbs and oils that would be good in a shampoo but I didn't know how to make shampoo, and how to get the herbs into the shampoo. And, reading a bottle of Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap [Dr. Bronner's Pure-Castile Liquid Soap] with, you know, you have like one bottle of soap can do forty-seven things. So, I'm reading about diluting it and it can be a shampoo, and it could be a floor cleaner, and it could be this, and it could be that. So, instead of just diluting it with water I thought, well, why don't I make a tea with all of the herbs that I know are good for hair, and dilute it with that tea. And, I did that but it was very runny. It didn't have viscosity that people are accustom to with shampoo. So, I tried to make it thick and that never worked. And, the shampoo worked so I just said, "Forget it, it'll be runny. I don't care (laughter), I'm making shampoo." But, just, just experimenting like that, you know. I read about some bath salts. I looked at the ingredients. I knew I could get all of those and I just started to mix them.

Olive Lee Benson

Olive Lee Benson of Boston, Massachusetts, was recognized as a premier hair stylist and an expert in relaxing and straightening hair. Benson was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on September 11, 1932, the ninth of ten children. She attended Cambridge public schools, graduating from Cambridge High and Latin School in 1949. After high school, Benson studied at the Wilfred Academy in Boston, where she received her diploma and certification to practice hairdressing and styling. In later years she continued her professional training and education at Pivot Point (Chicago), Vidal Sasson and Jingles (London, England), Clairol (New York) and Wella (Massachusetts).

In 1959, Benson opened a small storefront beauty shop in north Cambridge, in the neighborhood where she grew up. Her clients, mostly African Americans, were women with extremely curly hair. She offered the most advanced styling and hair treatment techniques. Benson moved her Cambridge salon business to Boston in the 1960s. With the success of her first Boston salon, she moved to two larger locations in Boston's upscale downtown retail districts, before opening up her largest enterprise in 1997 in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, a nearby suburb. Women from a variety of ethnic and racial backgrounds came to Olive's Beauty Salon to have their curly hair straightened and styled with the most up-to-date fashion.

Following the successful completion of her Hair America examination in 1976, Benson became the designer and coordinator for several industry publications that set seasonal trends for both ethnic and non-ethnic styling. She also became an editorial columnist for Shoptalk Magazine, a national publication for salon professionals. After researching at Soft Sheen, Johnson Products, and other hair care companies, one of Benson's lifelong dreams was realized in 1996, with the creation and marketing of her own line of hair products. The line known as Universal Textures, included a relaxer for all types of hair texture—which she called a “universal relaxer,” a protein hair conditioner, a shampoo and a leave-in conditioner. Her products were marketed under Universal Textures at her Chestnut Hill salon.

A holder of numerous awards, she received a citation and honor as the first black inducted into the Hall of Renown of the National Cosmetology Association in 1991 and awards from the International Beauty Show from 1991 to 1994. In 1996, she was the first African American to receive a North American Hairstyle Award.

Benson passed away on June 27, 2005 at age 72.

Accession Number

A2005.025

Sex

Female

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

1/26/2005

Last Name

Benson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

Lee

Organizations
Schools

Abraham Lincoln School

Lesley Ellis School

Cambridge Rindge and Latin School

Wilford Academy of Cosmetology

Archival Photo 2
First Name

Olive

Birth City, State, Country

Cambridge

HM ID

BEN05

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Massachusetts

Favorite Vacation Destination

Spas

Favorite Quote

I'm Not Always Right, But I'm Very Seldom Wrong.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Birth Date

9/11/1932

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Boston

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Death Date

6/26/2005

Short Description

Personal care entrepreneur and salon owner Olive Lee Benson (1932 - 2005 ) opened many Olive's Beauty Salons in the Boston area including her largest enterprise in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, a Boston suburb. Benson also developed her own line of hair care products, Universal Textures, after researching at Soft Sheen, Johnson Products and other hair care companies.

Employment

Filene's Basement

Straight Hair Company

Revlon

L'Oreal

Soft Sheen Products

Universal Textures

Olive's Beauty Salon

Favorite Color

Purple

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Olive Benson interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Olive Benson lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Olive Benson recalls her family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Olive Benson describes her father's authoritarian discipline

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Olive Benson talks about her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Olive Benson describes her childhood community in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Olive Benson remembers her father playing both parental roles after her mother died

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Olive Benson shares childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Olive Benson recalls her elementary school and her career options after high school

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Olive Benson remembers her middle and high school years

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Olive Benson recounts her jobs as a teenager including doing her sisters' and friends' hair

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Olive Benson reflects on beauty school and her early career

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Olive Benson talks about her daughters' careers and families

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Olive Benson details opening her own salon

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Olive Benson recalls facing discrimation in renting property for her business

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Olive Benson describes her salon's rapid expansion in the 1990s

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Olive Benson recounts how she became the first black hairdresser to win the Massachusetts hair styling competition

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Olive Benson discusses her success with all different hair textures

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Olive Benson remembers developing her own beauty products

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Olive Benson relates how she kept her business running

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Olive Benson details her work for L'Oreal and Soft Sheen on product development and education

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Olive Benson recalls facing unethical practices as a product developer for Pantress

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Olive Benson recounts developing her own line of products

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Olive Benson discusses her salons

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Olive Benson reflects on the people who inspired her

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Olive Benson describes the world of style competitions and her own greatest awards

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Olive Benson offers her advice to young people interested in hair styling

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Olive Benson remembers styling hair for the 2004 Democratic National Convention

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Olive Benson discusses legal problems in her business

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Olive Benson shares her advice for young business people

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Olive Benson reflects on her life and career

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Olive Benson shares her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Olive Benson ponders her legacy

Comer Joseph Cottrell

Founder of Pro-Line and philanthropist Comer Joseph Cottrell was born December 7, 1931 in Mobile, Alabama. His parents, Comer J., Sr. and Helen Smith Cottrell were black Catholics. As a youngster, Cottrell and his brother, Jimmy, turned a pair of bunnies into a business, including selling their progeny as Easter bunnies, meat and fur. Cottrell attended Heart of Mary Elementary and Secondary Schools. At age seventeen, Cottrell joined the United States Air Force where he attained the rank of First Sergeant and managed an Air Force PX in Okinawa. Cottrell attended the University of Detroit before leaving the service in 1954. He joined Sears Roebuck in 1964 and rose to the position of division manager in Los Angeles, California.

In 1968, with an initial investment of $600.00, Cottrell and a friend got into the black hair care business. Then, with his brother, Jimmy, Cottrell manufactured strawberry scented oil sheen for Afro hairstyles and founded Pro-Line Corporation in 1970. By 1973, he made his first million dollars in sales. In 1979, Cottrell took the $200.00 “Jerry Curl” out of the beauty shop and into black homes with his $8.00 Pro-Line “Curly Kit”, which increased his sales from one million dollars a year to ten million dollars in the first six months. Shortly thereafter Cottrell moved Pro-Line to Dallas, Texas. At the top of the ethnic hair care business, Cottrell became a part owner, with George W. Bush of the Texas Rangers professional baseball team in 1989; turning a $3 million dollar profit on a $500,000.00 investment. He also founded FCC Investment Corporation.

In 1990, he purchased and restored the 131-acre, HBCU, Bishop College campus for $1.5 million and transferred it to A.M.E. Paul Quinn College. Cottrell is a trustee of Northwood University and a member of the Dallas Chamber of Commerce, the North Texas Commission, and the Dallas Citizens Council. He was the former chairman of the Texas Cosmetology Commission and vice chair of the Texas Youth Commission. He was a board member or officer of NAACP, National Urban League, YMCA, Dallas Family Hospital, Better Business Bureau, Compton College Foundation, Paul Quinn College and Baylor University Foundation. Cottrell was former vice chair of the Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce. Recipient of scores of awards, Cottrell hosted a yearly “Taste of Cottrell” event in Dallas.

Cottrell passed away on October 3, 2014.

Accession Number

A2004.218

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/27/2004

Last Name

Cottrell

Maker Category
Middle Name

Joseph

Organizations
Schools

Lillie B Williamson High School

Dunbar Creative Performing Arts

First Name

Comer

Birth City, State, Country

Mobile

HM ID

COT01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

I shall survive.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

12/7/1931

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Dallas

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Gumbo

Death Date

10/3/2014

Short Description

Personal care entrepreneur Comer Joseph Cottrell (1931 - 2014 ) was the cofounder of Pro-Line hair products company, best known for creating the popular Pro-Line Curly Kit. Cottrell was also part owner of professional baseball’s Texas Rangers, founder of FCC Investment Corporation, and responsible for restoring the 131-acre Bishop College campus and transferring it to A.M.E. based Paul Quinn College. Cottrell passed away on October 3, 2014.

Employment

Sears Roebuck & Company

Pro-Line

Texas Rangers

FCC Investment Corporation

US Air Force

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:6211,94:6616,100:7264,109:8479,135:39066,313:45830,606:58540,752:60765,794:63346,915:65749,1040:88926,1300:127266,1637:154954,1864:155399,1870:156467,1888:183938,2160:194275,2250:196840,2295:214574,2455:232760,2594:276442,2896:277522,2942:279250,3088:287120,3215$0,0:798,8:20442,236:31880,396:44494,598:55053,752:94070,1019:107950,1159:116230,1271:119840,1280:120197,1288:120656,1302:134264,1434:143950,1531:147560,1590:147940,1595:167813,1760:182990,1904:202904,2065:210388,2143:211306,2160:218770,2213:229900,2266:239868,2382:243516,2430:257452,2609:260880,2629
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Comer Joseph Cottrell's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Comer Joseph Cottrell lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Comer Joseph Cottrell describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Comer Joseph Cottrell describes how his mother's family lost their property in Mobile, Alabama

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Comer Joseph Cottrell talks about his mother's education and early career in Mobile, Alabama

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Comer Joseph Cottrell talks about his parents' courtship

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Comer Joseph Cottrell describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Comer Joseph Cottrell talks about the racism that he encountered in Gulfport, Mississippi and Mobile, Alabama

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Comer Joseph Cottrell talks about his father's founding of Booker T. Washington Insurance Company in Birmingham, Alabama

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Comer Joseph Cottrell talks about his father's career in the insurance industry

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Comer Joseph Cottrell talks about HistoryMaker Bishop Joseph Howze and Bishop Carl Fisher

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Comer Joseph Cottrell describes his childhood household in Mobile, Alabama

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Comer Joseph Cottrell describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Mobile, Alabama

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Comer Joseph Cottrell recalls attending Lillie B. Williamson High School for elementary school in Mobile, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Comer Joseph Cottrell describes his experience attending Lillie B. Williamson High School for elementary school in Mobile, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Comer Joseph Cottrell remembers black professional baseball players he encountered while they were growing up in Mobile, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Comer Joseph Cottrell describes his experience attending Dunbar High School in Mobile, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Comer Joseph Cottrell talks about the year he spent attending the University of Detroit in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Comer Joseph Cottrell talks about joining the U.S. Air Force in 1949

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Comer Joseph Cottrell describes his experience in the U.S. Air Force at the onset of the Korean War

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Comer Joseph Cottrell describes his experience in Okinawa, Japan while serving in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Comer Joseph Cottrell recalls his involvement in a soldier's dishonorable discharge while serving as first sergeant in the U.S. Air Force in Okinawa

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Comer Joseph Cottrell talks about his additional jobs on the U.S. Air Force base in Okinawa, Japan

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Comer Joseph Cottrell talks about his experience at the Oakland Filter Center on Project Blue Book

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Comer Joseph Cottrell recalls the circumstances surrounding his first marriage and the birth of his first child

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Comer Joseph Cottrell recalls starting his first small business when he moved to California in 1956

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Comer Joseph Cottrell talks about working in sales at Sears, Roebuck and Co.

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Comer Joseph Cottrell talks about his reason for entering the hair care industry and founding Pro-Line Corporation

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Comer Joseph Cottrell talks about the initial days of product development for Pro-Line Corporation

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Comer Joseph Cottrell talks about Pro-Line Corporation's initial marketing and sales strategies

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Comer Joseph Cottrell talks about the success of Pro-Line Corporation's Curly Kit

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Comer Joseph Cottrell talks about the heavy competition against Pro-Line Corporation's Curly Kit

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Comer Joseph Cottrell talks about Pro-Line Corporation's high sales revenues

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Comer Joseph Cottrell explains his decision to sell Pro-Line Corporation in 2001

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Comer Joseph Cottrell describes his practice of reinvesting profits in Pro-Line Corporation

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Comer Joseph Cottrell describes his guiding philosophy of management at Pro-Line Corporation

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Comer Joseph Cottrell explains his reason for moving Pro-Line Corporation from Los Angeles, California to Dallas, Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Comer Joseph Cottrell describes his initial involvement with politics and his current political concerns

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Comer Joseph Cottrell talks about his impressions of President George Walker Bush

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Comer Joseph Cottrell recalls an interaction where President Ronald Wilson Reagan showed a lack of interest in the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Comer Joseph Cottrell describes his involvement with Bishop College in Dallas, Texas and his efforts to save it from bankruptcy, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Comer Joseph Cottrell describes his involvement with Bishop College in Dallas, Texas and his efforts to save it from bankruptcy, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Comer Joseph Cottrell describes the continued challenges in operating Paul Quinn College in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Comer Joseph Cottrell talks about his accomplishments as vice chair of the Texas Youth Commission

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Comer Joseph Cottrell describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Comer Joseph Cottrell reflects upon his life

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Comer Joseph Cottrell reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Comer Joseph Cottrell talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Comer Joseph Cottrell describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Comer Joseph Cottrell narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$5

DAStory

7$3

DATitle
Comer Joseph Cottrell talks about his reason for entering the hair care industry and founding Pro-Line Corporation
Comer Joseph Cottrell describes his involvement with Bishop College in Dallas, Texas and his efforts to save it from bankruptcy, pt. 1
Transcript
So you went from sales to division manager [at Sears, Roebuck and Co.] and then, when did you start thinking about going into the hair business, hair care business?$$I was still at Sears and I'll be honest I never thought about hair care. I knew nothing about hair. I had a salesmen that worked for me at Sears that I had to terminate because he--I would tell him, I said you're writing my report card and I'm not gonna fail because you're not producing, and I let him go and he came back. He could sell me to quit my job and go out here and get started in the hair care business with him. So he could sell very well.$$Okay, how was he able to convince you? What argument did he use to convince you to go into the hair care business?$$Well I knew that there was a market out there because when I managed the PX [post exchange], I would make requisitions for hair care for the black service members' family and they would tell me that we've got Brylcreem, we've got Vitalis and Wildroot Cream-Oil (laughter).$$So black people don't use those products?$$No, no they don't, so.$$Now what products do black use now, now you have to tell us now what?$$They use Pro-Line and they--.$$No, in those days, in those days what did they use I mean?$$Tuxedo Club [Pomade] and a lot of beeswax products.$$Was that like Murray's [Pomade]?$$Murray's, that's the name of it yeah.$$Murray's greaseless hair pomade, or Royal Crown.$$Royal Crown, Tuxedo Club and Murray's.$$Blue Magic I think was another one, I think.$$Blue Magic was kinda like Vaseline.$$Some people use Vaseline.$$Yeah, and they would Vaseline for pressing their hair, women mostly used the Vaseline.$$I think there was something Posner Coconut Oil too, I think people used that sometime on their hair.$$Yeah, that was that blue grease, that's what I called it blue grease, the coconut oil.$$Okay, so, so you would have to, you knew what black people used on their hair and would order those products?$$Yeah and see at this time the Watts riots was in, black people started wearing their afros and there was a sense of pride in blackness and we wanted to stand separate. So by me managing the PX, I knew that there was an opportunity there so I told him that I would go into the business if we sold to the PXs. Well he and I couldn't get together, he wanted to do like Dudley [Products, Inc.] does, just sell directly to the beauty salons and the barber shops. Well they don't pay properly, they, they get your product and they sell it and use it and then when you go by to get paid, they don't wanna pay.$$But the--.$$So I didn't want that problem.$$But the service will pay you on time right?$$Yeah, as a matter-of-fact they give you a quick discount, a special. You give 'em a discount and they pay you within "X" period of days. They give you a speed discount, a fast discount. A minority, for a small business they pay, fast pay, they get you on the fast track for payment so that you don't get stretched out too far.$$Okay.$$So I was getting, I was buying my product with ninety day terms and I was getting paid anywhere from between ten and twenty days, so building me the cash flow so I never had to go out and borrow any money for the operation.$Tell us about Paul Quinn College [Dallas, Texas].$$Well Paul Quinn is a black college [HBCU] that's 117 years old when I bought it back in '90 [1990], '91 [1991], and--$$So you actually bought it?$$It was in Waco [Texas], yeah. It was located in Waco. I didn't, I bought Bishop College [Dallas, Texas] out of bankruptcy. Bishop was one of the leading black, historically black colleges in the country. At the time it would compare with Southern [University and Agricultural and Mechanical College, Baton Rouge, Louisiana] and any of the other black colleges. Bishop was quite a legacy and had some outstanding graduates, but it was run by Baptist ministers who let it go down the tube, and it was totally mismanaged. At the board level, there was little accountability out there. They just didn't know what they were doing and I served on that board and stayed in trouble with the--it was me against the ministers and I lost all of the business community's support that we had because I would've opened up issues that businessmen supported and the ministers opposed it so they didn't want to be caught out here and held liable in some cases. As a good example was the football team. A lot of these guys in the business community, their colleges had had to cancel football because they couldn't afford it and I did, I recommended that we consider dropping football and I was voted down. I had to be a big pool to even suggest that because some of those guys went to Bishop and played football and their sons went there and played football and their grandsons are gonna go there and play football for the good ole' Bishop Blue, but I said it won't be a Bishop Blue around if we keep going like we are. So I did a study of the whole thing and found out that we were actually playing, had a football team without insurance. There was no insurance out there for the team players and when I exposed that all the business executives left the board because they know who would be responsible. I stayed on because I was committed and I tried to get them to do a reorganization and restructure the debt, and they told me I had to be crazy. They couldn't go back to their church and let their church folks know that they were dealing with a bankruptcy. So I lost that one and ultimately I resigned and when after I resigned, the company did go into a Chapter 11 [bankruptcy] and then they ended up in seven liquidation and the campus was auctioned off. I went over there and bought it out of the auction and I put a lot of money into trying to rehab [rehabilitate] it but I didn't have enough money to do that, I needed help.

Roger Gore

Roger George Gore was born on December 23, 1966, in Washington, D.C.; his mother worked as a school bus driver and his father worked as a driver for Greyhound and later Miller Beer. As a child, Gore suffered from sickle cell disease.

In 1984 Gore earned his high school diploma from Crossland High School in Maryland; upon his graduation, he received a scholarship to Frostburg State University, but discovered during orientation that he felt that college was not for him. Gore decided to attend beauty school instead; he had previous experience because an uncle had taught him to barber, or cut hair, when he was sixteen. Gore graduated from Robert Lewis Beauty School in Washington, D.C., in 1987. From 1986 until 1993, Gore worked for famed Washington, D.C., hair stylist Barry Fletcher at his salon Avant Garde Hair Gallery.

By 1991, at age twenty-five, Gore had won more than five first place finishes in national hair competitions and major trade shows. In 1992, Gore organized a cosmetologist and barber association called UACE, which provided insurance, retirement plans, and health benefits to hair stylists. While still working for Fletcher, Gore helped co-found a group called The Hair Gangsters, which consisted of four male stylists who traveled around the country teaching classes and hair styling techniques. In 1994, Gore developed a product line called G'Natural Herbal Products; his product line began with two hair and scalp products and eventually grew to include nearly twenty skin and hair care products, sold in more than sixteen states.

In 1992, Gore published his first book, No More Weave Please, a guide on how to repair damaged hair. Gore's book was controversial among some professionals in the field, but a best seller with African American customers concerned about their personal hair care. In 2004, Gore wrote and published his second book, Hair Gangster, which was a step-by-step guide to succeeding in the beauty industry. During that same year, Gore launched a second hair care product, called HipHopz, geared toward teenagers and young adults.

Gore was the recipient of the 2000 The Measurement of a Man award from Budweiser. His products are used by a number of celebrities, including Eddie and Gerald Levert, The Dells, and Jamie Foster Brown, editor of Sister 2 Sister magazine.

Accession Number

A2004.131

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/18/2004

Last Name

Gore

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Crossland High School

Benjamin Tasker Middle School

Oak Crest Elementary

Berwyn Heights Elementary

First Name

Roger

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

GOR01

Favorite Season

All Seasons

State

District of Columbia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Florida

Favorite Quote

If You Can't Do The Little Things, You Can't Do The Big Things.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

12/23/1966

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fish

Short Description

Personal care entrepreneur Roger Gore (1966 - ) was the co-founder of The Hair Gangsters, a group of stylists who traveled around the country teaching classes and hair styling techniques. Gore was also the developer of two lines of styling products geared towards African American users: G'Natural Herbal Products, and HipHopz. Additionally, Gore authored books on hair care and how to become a successful stylist.

Employment

Avant Garde Hair Gallery

UACE

Hair Gangsters

G'Natural Herbal Products

Hiphopz

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Roger Gore's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Roger Gore lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Roger Gore describes his mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Roger Gore talks about his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Roger Gore describes his father

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Roger Gore describes his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Roger Gore talks about his maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Roger Gore talks about his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Roger Gore talks about his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Roger Gore describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Roger Gore describes his memories of holidays as a child

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Roger Gore talks about his childhood in Holly Park, Maryland

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Roger Gore describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Roger Gore talks about his childhood education

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Roger Gore talks about his television debut on a cooking show

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Roger Gore remembers battling sickle cell disease as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Roger Gore describes sickle cell disease's effect on his body

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Roger Gore talks about his mother's vigilance over his health

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Roger Gore talks about his parents' focus on being a strong person

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Roger Gore talks about his experience in junior high school

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Roger Gore describes Mr. Banks, his vice principal at Benjamin Tasker Junior High in Bowie, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Roger Gore recalls an experience of racism at Benjamin Tasker Junior High in Bowie, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Roger Gore talks about his junior high school years

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Roger Gore remembers attending a Rick James concert in junior high

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Roger Gore talks about growing up in the Baptist church

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Roger Gore talks about his experience at Crossland High School in Temple Hills, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Roger Gore talks about bullies and fist fights in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Roger Gore remembers his favorite teacher at Crossland High School in Temple Hills, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Roger Gore describes working at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) during his senior year of high school

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Roger Gore talks about his developing personality in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Roger Gore describes learning to barber from his uncle at Seat Pleasant Barber Shop

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Roger Gore talks about his high school prom

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Roger Gore talks about his decision to enlist in the U.S. Air Force

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Roger Gore recalls tensions with his mother after he decided to go to Robert Lewis Beauty School in Silver Spring, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Roger Gore remembers winning a hair competition at the Bronner Bros. International Beauty Show in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Roger Gore recalls the challenges of being a heterosexual man in beauty school during the 1980s

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Roger Gore talks about working at the Avant Garde Hair Gallery and the formation of the Hair Gangsters

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Roger Gore describes the formation of the United Association of Cosmetological Entrepreneurs

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Roger Gore describes how he started his company, G'Natural Herbal Products

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Roger Gore talks about why he developed products for African American hair

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Roger Gore talks about his first book, 'No More Weave Please'

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Roger Gore talks about his second book, 'Hair Gangster'

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Roger Gore reflects upon the decline of men in the hair industry

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Roger Gore describes changes in black hairstyles over the years

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Roger Gore talks about celebrities who have used his hair products

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Roger Gore talks about creating products for children

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Roger Gore reflects upon formative moments in his life

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Roger Gore reflects upon his years as a hairdresser

Tape: 4 Story: 13 - Roger Gore talks about product testing

Tape: 4 Story: 14 - Roger Gore talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Roger Gore narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$4

DAStory

3$6

DATitle
Roger Gore describes how he started his company, G'Natural Herbal Products
Roger Gore talks about his second book, 'Hair Gangster'
Transcript
And so, at the ripe old age of twenty-eight, you decide to leave doing hair on a regular basis and move more into the business industry of things and develop your own product line.$$(No audible response, Shaking head yes)$$Can you tell us a little bit about, tell us the name of the product line, what you sold and how that all came about?$$It's called G'Natural Herbal Products and it came about from Mel Calloway who had became one of my mentors in the beauty business. Also Larry [McLenney] that owns Kemi Oyl became one of my mentors because I created a cosmetology trade show in D.C., and to get all the manufacturers here. And from there they were saying you know you got the mind to be more into hairdressing. So why--you know become more in the hairdressing. And Mel Calloway was the first one that said create a product. I can't tell you what, I can't tell you why. Create a product line. And I liked natural products so I decided to come up with something natural. And at the time they had a company out called Natural Oasis which sold a hair and scalp conditioner. And I went to work for them for--as an independent distributor 'cause I sold beauty supplies, had my own van and everything under the Association. And they were like a poorly operated company and I said to myself, well this can be built upon and I created my own hair and scalp conditioner, herbal.$$Like how did you create it? Did you work with scientists and to create it?$$Shaking head yes. Agina Shabazz [ph.] out of Philadelphia [Pennsylvania], again a great friend of mine, I've met some great people in my life. She had her own product line. She said, I know a chemist that can help you and she turned me on to a chemist. So when I worked with that chemist they gave me strict instructions. You have to know ingredients. So spend all your time learning ingredients and we can help you. But if you don't know nothing then you can't help us. So I learned ingredients, herbal ingredients and Agina [Shabazz] gave me books on herbs and stuff like that and how they go together.$$And what made your product, your conditioner different from other things that were on the market?$$Well most conditioners were petroleum-based. Ours were vegetable oil based for one. Number two, the choices and selection of herbs. The company that I was in direct competition with only listed like vegetable oil and herbs. So you never know what herbs are in there. As I read more and worked with Agina and her enlightening me on what herbs did, I selected the most expensive healing herbs for hair and scalp. So it was like Rosemary, Sage, (unclear), Comfrey, Calendula and I put those things in a product. And we had to get the base right, the texture of it because we didn't want our product to set on top or clog the pores and we got the base right and we put it out in the street. It was successful overnight.$$And how did you market it, I mean in order to, for it to obtain its success?$$Well I was blessed because I was a good--I won't say a great hairdresser. I was a good hairdresser.$$So your reputation helped you?$$Right, cause I had already been all over the country teaching. I won competitions and hair competitions so I was already known so it was easy for me to go back into it with hairdressers and ask them to try my product.$And tell us a little bit about your second book that you published this year called 'Hair Gangster.'$$'Hair Gangster' was my--men with the industry, it was my hug for them. I'm making up to them now after I smacked them with the other book. So in my travels with my speaking and stuff, a lot of hairdressers come up to me and say you know--cause now I'm starting to get all these awards now. And so they came up to me saying well how did you do it? Well what did you do? So I said well let me just do a book to help them. And the reason I used the term hair gangster because you know that came from us as being aggressive hairdressers. We marketed ourselves, our appearance. You know we kind of rose above you know just a regular hairdresser to try to excel in the industry all the way to being a manufacturer. So if you want to be a hair gangster this is how you do it and it says work in the beauty game. So we just go step by step telling them how to get their self from point A, point C and show them how the business is broke down from manufacturing, distribution on down to beauty schools, beauty supply stores and salons.$$And do you think that Barry Fletcher was somewhat on the cutting edge as well with his salon you know being--$$(No audible response, shaking head yes)$$--you know just top notch and extremely professional? Because unfortunately a lot of salons--well some salons in the black community that air of professionalism and that top notch is, sometimes isn't there. So do you think he was kind of on the cutting edge as well?$$Actually he was not. In that time, all salons were that way so that's the difference. Today he would be on the cutting edge because you know you have a different style of shop ownership. But back then all of them were ran professionally. You had an expectation of the stylist, you know. I remember Cho used to say when you come in there and you wasn't dressed properly, this is the beauty shop, not the body shop. And you had to go home that day and change up and come back. If you decided not to come back, you was fired. You came back, all right, go back to work. So they didn't hold anything personal with you. They just felt like they was instructing you on how to perform in the beauty industry. Now it's, it's more liberal you know it's more loosely ran. And I think the hairdressers now are reaching out for how can we get back to the old, you know that glory day of being respected, being professional. And I'm crazy about them wanting it back you know so that's why really I did the book too cause I'm saying again, here is something that can help you guys get back on track with what you want to do. And we got some great stylists out here. So if they get the rest of it, it's over.

Bettiann Gardner

Working with her husband and business partner, Edward, Bettiann Gardner became an innovator in African American hair care when she co-founded Soft Sheen Products, Inc. in 1964. Soft Sheen Products began in the couple's basement in Chicago; their goal was to create better hair care products designed specifically for African Americans. With brands such as Optimum and Care Free Curl, Soft Sheen Products grew into a multimillion-dollar enterprise employing over four hundred Chicagoans. Exporting to Canada, the Caribbean, and West Africa, the company became a global force, eventually being purchased by the L'Oreal group in 1998.

From the beginning of her business activities, Gardner saw to it that each of her children were also involved in Soft Sheen Products. A staunch advocate of the arts and African American theater, Gardner helped to revitalize the old Regal Theater by contributing millions toward the purchase of the once-dormant Avalon Theater in 1987. As further testament to her commitment to the arts, Gardner also supported the New Regal Theater Foundation, and acted as chairwoman of the Chicago Sinfonietta's honorary board of directors.

Gardner and Edward, her husband of over fifty years, raised four children.

Accession Number

A2002.168

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/26/2002

Last Name

Gardner

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Organizations
Schools

Kennedy–King College

First Name

Bettiann

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

GAR02

Favorite Season

None

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

What you see, is what you get

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

6/26/1930

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Gumbo

Short Description

Personal care entrepreneur Bettiann Gardner (1930 - ) is the co-founder of Chicago's Soft Sheen Products and New Regal Theatre. Along with her husband, Ed Gardner, Gardner is an active philanthropist in Chicago.

Employment

Chicago Public Library

Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Bettiann Gardner interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Bettiann Gardner briefly gives her parents' names and places of birth

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Bettiann Gardner talks about her grandparents and her relationships with them

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Bettiann Gardner talks about her parents' backgrounds

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Bettiann Gardner lists some of her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Bettiann Gardner lists more of her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Bettiann Gardner recalls her personality as a child and describes her home life

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Bettiann Gardner describes her neighborhood as a child

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Bettiann Gardner talks about her mother's political activities

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Bettiann Gardner talks briefly about her religious affiliation

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Bettiann Gardner recalls her early school years

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Bettiann Gardner talks about her courtship and marriage to Edward Gardner

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Bettiann Gardner talks about her grandfather's stories as a Pullman porter

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Bettiann Gardner talks about the origins of New Regal Theater

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Bettiann Gardner discusses the purpose and programs of the New Regal Theatre

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Bettiann Gardner talks about her activities with the Chicago Sinfonietta

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Bettiann Gardner talks briefly about her involvement with the Committee of 200 organization

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Bettiann Gardner details the origins of the Soft Sheen Products hair care empire

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Bettiann Gardner talks about her family's participation at Soft Sheen and selling the company

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Bettiann Gardner details the sale of the Soft Sheen Products company

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Bettiann Gardner talks more about the sale of Soft Sheen Products and her daughter's role in the transition

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Bettiann Gardner talks about her daughter's activities after stepping down as CEO of Soft Sheen Products

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Bettiann Gardner shares her personal philosophy

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Bettiann Gardner talks about how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Bettiann Gardner details her activities as publisher of 'ShopTalk' trade magazine

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Bettiann Gardner talks about her ownership of the Chicago Bulls professional basketball team

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Bettiann Gardner talks about her role as a grandmother

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

2$6

DATitle
Bettiann Gardner talks about the origins of New Regal Theater
Bettiann Gardner details her activities as publisher of 'ShopTalk' trade magazine
Transcript
Bronzeville [Chicago, Illinois] was bustling at that time. What do you--what was Bronzeville--?$$(Simultaneously) Oh yeah.$$Like from your point of view?$$Well the New Re--, The New Regal Theatre was at 47th and [Martin Luther] King [Jr.] drive. And every weekend my brothers and I would go to the Regal. We would put on our Sunday best and go to the Regal for what, what was ever playing there. And so we enjoyed that very much. And saw all of the--these people who are stars today. Billy Eckstine and Dizzy Gillespie and everybody was there performing.$$And well since you mentioned the Regal, now let me ask you about when you decided to do the Regal. Would you tell me how that whole idea to create the New Regal [Theatre] Foundation, how it actually started?$$Well my daughter [Terri Gardner] had a friend, Ed Wilkerson. And he and his group would play at all kind of terrible places. Down in the basement, up in the loft with part of the roof gone (laughs). And they were excellent musicians. And very clean--cut fellows. And so I always said, "Well, you know, with the way that they play in all these horrible places and they do such a good job with their music, they really deserve to play somewhere where it's really a nice atmosphere. A nice place." And so we thought of the--(unclear) the Regal Theatre was for sale. Not the Regal, the Avalon Theater was for sale. And we thought that would be a very good venue. And (pause) so that's what--you know, one of the reasons. And then we felt that plays should be on the South Side [Chicago, Illinois]. Because we attended a lot of plays. And we'd have to travel north up and down one street. And, you know, really hard to find places to--where performances were being held. So we felt that something should be on the South Side for entertainment and entertainers.$Is there anything relevant to us knowing something else about Bettiann Louise Gueno Gardner? (laughs) I remembered.$$Yes.$$Is there anything I didn't ask you maybe I should have? Or something that you would like to comment or share with us as we come to the wrap-up?$$Well we didn't mention 'ShopTalk'--publication that I was publisher of. Which was another vehicle for communicating with the beauticians. I think they're called cosmetologists. Some call them cosmetologists. But that was to give all the things that we knew and also international news that we brought to the beauticians from around the world from all over this country. When we first started there was a magazine publication called--I think it was 'Beauty Trade'. And I would read that. And in the morning when I'd go to the office and I would read it from cover to cover. And just learned a lot about the industry. Who is in the industry. Who was in the industry and what was going on and everything. So madam--not madam, but Dr. [Marjorie Stewart] Joyner did a column that I found most interesting to the beauticians coming up. How they should carry themselves. How they should look in their shops. And so then that magazine was no longer. So therefore, 'ShopTalk' took that place. And we tried to fill that void. Which I really think that we did. And we had articles and very helpful.$$That's an extremely successful trade magazine.$$(Simultaneously) Yeah, yeah. Mm-hmm.$$Now when did you suspend publication?$$Hmm, I don't remember exactly when. But--.$$(Simultaneously) But it lasted about what ten or twelve years?$$Yeah, my--one of my best girlfriends Jean Brandon was the editor. And she had had editorial background. Plus she was a teacher. And she did a really good job with that.

Rose Morgan

Born in Edward, Mississippi in 1912, Rose Meta Morgan grew up in Chicago. By 1942, she owned and operated the largest African American beauty parlor in the world. Following the business example of her father, industrious former sharecropper Chaptle Morgan, Morgan began making artificial flowers and convincing neighborhood children to sell them door-to-door at 10. Her skills with hair flowered into a business by age 14.

After attending Morris School of Beauty, Morgan rented a booth in a neighborhood salon and began working full-time. In 1938, she styled the hair of singer/actress Ethel Waters and impressed her so much that Morgan was invited to New York City as Waters' guest. Awed by the city's glamour, Morgan moved there and within six months had established enough customers to open her own beauty shop. Soon, she hired five stylists and signed a ten-year lease on a vacant, dilapidated mansion. By 1946, the Rose Meta House of Beauty had a staff of 29, including 20 hairstylists, three licensed masseurs, and a registered nurse.

Morgan opposed notions of beauty, which hold that kinky hair is bad, believing there is beauty in everyone. She began marketing her own line of cosmetics and staging fashion shows. With her ever-increasing success, Morgan bought a new building. In 1955, Rose Morgan's House of Beauty opened in a more stylish setting with a dressmaking department and a charm school in addition to the existing salon facilities. In the early 1960s, she added a wig salon. Over time, she employed and trained over 3,000 people.

In 1965, Morgan was one of the founders of New York's only black-owned commercial bank, the Freedom National Bank. She retired in the 1970s. Morgan continues to exercise every day and care for her health and beauty.

Contributions of Black Women to America, vol. 1. Kenday Press, 1982.
Ebony Success Library, vol. 1. Johnson Publishing, p. 228.
Notable Black American Women. Gale, 1992, p. 769.

Accession Number

A2002.009

Sex

Female

Interview Date

1/28/2002

Last Name

Morgan

Maker Category
Middle Name

Meta

Organizations
First Name

Rose

Birth City, State, Country

Edward

HM ID

MOR02

Favorite Season

July, August

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

Florida, Atlantic City

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

8/9/1912

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Salad

Death Date

12/16/2008

Short Description

Personal care entrepreneur and beautician Rose Morgan (1912 - 2008 ) owned and operated the largest African American beauty salon in the world beginning in 1942. In 1955, Rose Morgan’s House of Beauty opened, and included a dressmaking department and charm school.

Employment

Rose Meta House of Beauty

Freedom National Bank

Favorite Color

Blue, Red

Timing Pairs
0,0:7470,157:7944,164:22190,317:22490,322:23765,361:25790,401:31115,529:31415,535:33365,572:34040,586:34715,597:35090,604:35690,613:36065,619:36590,627:36890,632:47105,810:48267,827:49761,857:71260,1205:101006,1600:112178,1693:112970,1760:118954,1877:134231,2082:141969,2176:148404,2256:153370,2322$0,0:48790,710:50390,749:63988,973:73280,1051:73840,1059:77120,1143:91800,1362:92204,1367:133848,2021:139534,2119:146075,2231:148991,2294:194910,2977:215646,3274:229655,3541:240030,3664
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Rose Morgan's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Rose Morgan talks about her father's background

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Rose Morgan talks about her father's experience in Edwards, Mississippi

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Rose Morgan talks about her mother's background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Rose Morgan talks about taking after her parents

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Rose Morgan shares her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Rose Morgan describes her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Rose Morgan lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Rose Morgan describes working during her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Rose Morgan talks about learning to do hair as a child

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Rose Morgan describes her family life growing up in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Rose Morgan talks about her education at Morris Beauty Academy in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Rose Morgan talks about working as a hair stylist and moving to New York

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Rose Morgan describes moving to New York to start her own hair salon

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Rose Morgan describes the differences between Chicago, Illinois and New York

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Rose Morgan talks about starting her business in New York

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Rose Morgan describes the techniques she developed in styling hair

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Rose Morgan describes her clients in Harlem, New York in the 1930s and 1940s

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Rose Morgan talks about her business

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Rose Morgan describes the expansion of her salon in New York

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Rose Morgan describes Sugar Hill, Harlem, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Rose Morgan remembers the construction of Rose Meta House of Beauty, 401 West 148th Street, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Rose Morgan describes the experience her salon, Rose Meta House of Beauty, offered her clients

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Rose Morgan describes developing her process of styling hair

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Rose Morgan talks about developing her curling technique and training her employees

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Rose Morgan talks about the success of her growing business in the 1940s

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Rose Morgan talks about her clientele, which included Lena Horne and Diahann Carroll

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Rose Morgan describes her clients that included Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Rose Morgan talks about managing her employees at her beauty salons

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Rose Morgan recalls her favorite client, Diahann Carroll

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Rose Morgan describes her philosophy about black hair

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Rose Morgan talks about her styling techniques and treatments

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Rose Morgan talks about products she developed and marketed in her salons

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Rose Morgan talks about developing her business and management style

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Rose Morgan reflects on the difficulty of running such a large business

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Rose Morgan describes an average day of running her business in the 1940s

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Rose Morgan talks about the national expansion of her business

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Rose Morgan talks about the fashion shows she produced at her salons

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Rose Morgan describes the beauty business community in New York in the 1940s and 1950s

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Rose Morgan describes the production of her hair and fashion shows

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Rose Morgan talks about her involvement with 100 Black Women and Ebony Magazine

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Rose Morgan describes her philosophy of beauty

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Rose Morgan talks about securing funds to expand her business in the 1950s

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Rose Morgan reflects on her view of glamor and style

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Rose Morgan remembers meeting her future husband, Joe Louis, in Las Vegas, Nevada

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Rose Morgan talks about her relationship and marriage to Joe Louis from 1955 to 1958

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Rose Morgan describes the annulment of her marriage in 1958

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Rose Morgan talks about how her business shifted through the 1960s

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Rose Morgan describes her international travels in the 1960s

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Rose Morgan talks about starting Freedom National Bank in 1965

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Rose Morgan talks about her relationship with Jacoby Dickens, Chairman of the Board of Seaway Bank

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Rose Morgan talks about how business in New York was different than in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Rose Morgan reflects on the changing trends in women's style over her career

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Rose Morgan discusses trends in the African American beauty industry

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Rose Morgan describes her business philosophy, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Rose Morgan describes her business philosophy, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Rose Morgan talks about her management style

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Rose Morgan talks about the of closing her salon and her retirement in 1973

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Rose Morgan talks about her father's pride in her accomplishments, and her family's working together

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Rose Morgan reflects on becoming a successful businesswoman in New York

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Rose Morgan reflects on her legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Rose Morgan talks about her family

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Rose Morgan talks about her hopes and concerns for the black community

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Rose Morgan reflects on her influence on black culture

Tape: 6 Story: 12 - Rose Morgan narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Rose Morgan narrates her photographs, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Rose Morgan narrates her photographs, pt. 3

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Rose Morgan narrates her photographs, pt. 4

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Rose Morgan narrates her photographs, pt. 5

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

2$11

DATitle
Rose Morgan talks about developing her curling technique and training her employees
Rose Morgan remembers meeting her future husband, Joe Louis, in Las Vegas, Nevada
Transcript
So you said that it took two weeks to train someone as to your tech...$$[simultaneously] No matter how experienced you were. I don't care where you have... coming from, or what school you went to, or how much practice you had before coming there. But you had to learn my method.$$And wha... who... when you went to hire people, what were you looking for in a person to be, you know, who would be in your salon? 'Cause you were... you definitely were catering to a certain clientele. So I'm just wondering who were you... You know, what attributes would they have? Or what were you looking to make a decision about whether this person could work for you or not?$$'Cause they had to go... come in and demonstrate to me what they could do. And if you couldn't do what we were doing, then you had to work in training for two weeks. So we could teach you what we wanted. We didn't have a person to come in and say, "Here. Here's a customer you do that customer." You had to come in and do a shampoo. You could be a shampoo girl for a month or so. And then we will let you go through with pressing the hair out. And there's a certain way you had to curl. We didn't let you make those little tight curls. You had to curl the way I had learned to curl to get what I want.$$Okay and can you describe that curling technique?$$I didn't give you a [unclear] curl that you wrap it around. You seen people curl their hair and wrap it around. You had to curl that hair and curl it up and roll it up and let those curls come down loose. And that gave you nice loose hair. And gave you any kind of style we wanted to give you. You saw those styles in that book in there. You saw what they look like? That was sixty years ago. You never saw anything like that [chuckling]. But I have it on paper. And I have dates in there to show you when that was done. And how we... with the eye and the ear, the nails. In that book you'll see it again. You just see how those people look. That's my work. And you see I'm not just sitting here saying to you what we did. I have it on paper to show you what we did. But I perhaps could have gone out and said, "Well I'll have a school to train this." But it wouldn't done me any... I couldn't have been any better off than I am now. I just kept up a professional business.$Now let's talk about... How did you meet Joe Louis?$$Oh I went on a junket to Las Vegas [Nevada] when they opened the Moulin Rouge [Hotel]. They had all the press. Nothing but the press and famous people that they flew out there for free overnight. And I was on this plane and I got like seasick. So Joe Louis looked down the list and he saw my name on it. He said, "Rose Morgan! What you bringing her out here for?" So the public relations said, "You don't know who Rose Morgan is?" He said, "Yeah I know Rose Morgan. Who is she?" You know, [chuckling]. "What are you bringing her out here for free?" And when I got off the plane, they said Joe [Louis] was there. And the first girl got off. He said, "Did Rose come?" She said, "I'm here. You asking about Rose and you asking... I'm here. My name... You know who I am." So when I got off the plane, I didn't even look at Joe [Louis]. 'Cause I was like airsick. I went on to a hotel. And I saw him the next day. So when we got... went down for the dinner, they had the music and seating arrangement for everybody. And I thought that I was gonna be seated with the people that I came out with. I went over to this table. And they said, "Rose did you look to see where you're going to be seated?" Said, "You have a seating assignment. We all have seating assignments." So I went over to this table and they said, "your seat" ... Man escorted me. Took me upstairs. And I could look right down on the dance floor. I said, "Where are my friends?" So the people at the table said, "I don't know." I didn't know these people. So by the time the show started, who walked down the aisle but Joe [Louis]. And he sit down beside me. He never said a word to me. I never said a word to him [chuckling]. So when it was over he got up he said, "Well did you like the show?" "I thought it was great," I said and left and went on down to find my friends. Left him standing there. And when he found me, I was at the black jack table. And I had won about five hundred dollars. He said, "Are you gonna try and win all the money?" I said, "That's what I came out here for, you know?" So a friend of mine came up and said, "Girl we'd like to see what this... what is it? The strip on Downing," 'cause you know, this was this hotel they were opening up. The Moulin Rouge [Hotel], Las [Vegas, Nevada]. We wanted to see what the strip was like. So he drove us down and we saw all the bright lights and everything. And when we came back, it was about oh about... the sun was shining. You know. And I rushed on off the ho... off this elevator. He said, "Here you're going... you can come to my room." I said, "No man I got to go to sleep." So I rushed to my room. And my... Jerry Major was the editor of Ebony and Jet. I rushed in there and got about a couple of hours' sleep. Then our plane was ready to leave. So we left. And my phone started ringing when I got home. Joe [Louis] called me for three months before I could see him. I told him, "No, I can't come to Las Vegas [Nevada]. I'm busy." "I can't come to Chicago [Illinois]." Wanted me in Chicago [Illinois]. "I can't come, I'm busy." So when he finally got out here, he had to make an appearance on television. And... on 'Name That Tune' and something else. So then he went up to Buffalo [New York] for something. And he asked me if I would come up to Buffalo [New York]. So one Saturday, I finished with my business about eight o'clock. I got up there about twelve thirty. And he and his business partner, Billy Rowe, were standing waiting for me. And that's how we got started.$$Okay we're gonna change tapes.

Edward Gardner

Personal care entrepreneur Edward George Gardner was born on February 25, 1925 in Chicago, Illinois to Frank and Eva Gardner. Following service in the U. S. Army during World War II, Gardner returned to Chicago and enrolled in Chicago Teacher’s College, where he received his B.A. degree in the 1940s. He went on to also obtain his M.A. degree from the University of Chicago.

Gardner worked for fourteen years as an instructor and school administrator for the Chicago Public Schools while simultaneously working part time as a black hair care sales representative. Learning of the dissatisfaction of many African American consumers and hair care professionals, he and his wife, Bettiann, launched Soft Sheen Products from their basement in 1964. With brands such as Optimum and Care Free Curl, Soft Sheen Products grew into a multimillion-dollar enterprise employing more than 400 people. The company also developed globally, exporting its products to Canada, the Caribbean and West Africa. In 1998, Gardner sold Soft Sheen Products to L’Oreal of Paris and passed the day-to-day operation of Soft Sheen on to his children.

Gardner has also been committed to service in the Chicago community. He owned the New Regal Theater and served as president of Garden Investment Partners. In addition, Gardner received credit for helping register over 250,000 people for Mayor Harold Washington's election in 1983. He served as a board member of the Chicago Urban league and was invited by President Bill Clinton to attend an economic summit in Little Rock, Arkansas, to discuss the impact corporations can have on urban employment.

Soft Sheen’s honors include a “Company of the Year” award from Black Enterprise magazine, and a 1999 Golden Pyramid Award.

Edward Gardner was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 12, 2002.

Accession Number

A1993.004

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/9/1993

Last Name

Gardner

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

G.

Organizations
Schools

William H. Ryder Math and Science Specialty Elementary School

Burnside Elementary Scholastic Academy

Christian Fenger Academy High School

Chicago State University

University of Chicago

First Name

Edward

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

GAR01

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

Sponsor

Tanqueray

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Chicago, Illinois

Favorite Quote

No one monkey stops the show.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

2/25/1925

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Soul Food

Short Description

Personal care entrepreneur Edward Gardner (1925 - ) launched Soft Sheen Products with his wife, Bettiann, in 1964.

Employment

Chicago School System

Soft Sheen Products

New Regal Theatre Foundation

House of Kicks

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Green

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Edward Gardner interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Edward Gardner's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Edward Gardner lists his family members

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Edward Gardner shares his favorite saying

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Edward Gardner recalls his favorite childhood activites

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Edward Gardner describes his parents

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Edward Gardner remembers his grandparents and great-grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Edward Gardner discusses his parents' lives

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Edward Gardner shares childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Edward Gardner recounts experiencing racism in the Army

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Edward Gardner discusses overcoming America's legacy of discrimination

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Edward Gardner recalls his early education and interest in art

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Edward Gardner remembers his teaching career

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Edward Gardner remembers Bronzeville in the 1930s and 1940s

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Edward Gardner remembers teachers who influenced him

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Edward Gardner discusses his family

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Edward Gardner recalls his early career

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Edward Gardner describes how Soft Sheen evolved into a major company

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Edward Gardner recounts the success of Care Free Curl

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Edward Gardner reflects on why his company is so successful

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Edward Gardner explains why Soft Sheen sold to L'Oreal

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Edward Gardner discusses his childrens' business enterprises

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Edward Gardner talks about his family's community involvement

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Edward Gardner discusses the people he emulates

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Edward Gardner reflects on the success of black businesses

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Edward Gardner compares the hair care industry then and now

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Edward Gardner recalls starting the House of Kicks family recreation center

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Edward Gardner remembers protests against the House of Kicks

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Edward Gardner explains the marketing and operation of House of Kicks

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Edward Gardner describes his pride in achieving success despite discrimination

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Edward Gardner discusses his philanthropic pursuits

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Edward Gardner recalls his involvement in the Harold Washington mayoral campaign

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Edward Gardner shares his concerns for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Edward Gardner discusses the revival of the Regal Theatre

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Edward Gardner considers his legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Edward Gardner discusses the need for success in the face of discrimination

John Atchison

Hairstylist and salon owner John Atchison was born in 1941 in Spartanburg, South Carolina. As an adolescent Atchison moved to New York City and finished high school there. Atchison grew up in close contact with his extended family and was initially motivated to be a hairstylist by watching one of his aunts do hair at her own beauty shop.

After finishing cosmetology school, Atchison worked at several salons before landing an assistant stylist position at the fashionable Vidal Sassoon salon. Rising swiftly through the ranks, he was soon appointed manager and artistic director for the Vidal Sassoon salons in New York City. In 1976, Atchison branched out on his own with a salon in New York where his methods and techniques have been at the forefront of style. As a salon owner Atchison is a strong advocate for professionalism and has implemented apprenticeship and continuing education programs. Subsequently, Atchison went on to found a training center for hair care professionals as well as a line of products for African American hair. Through his organization, he has trained thousands of hairstylists in the United States and the Caribbean.

The John Atchison Salon now has two locations, New York and Los Angeles, and after 25 years as an owner Atchison is regarded as one of the premier educators in the industry. Atchison is a motivational speaker and lecturer, and has been awarded numerous honors including a citation from Modern Salon in 1999 honoring him as one of the 75 educators of the century. He is also a consultant to the New York City Board of Education's cosmetology program.

Accession Number

A2001.001

Sex

Male

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

4/2/2001

Last Name

Atchison

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Academy of Hair and Beauty Culture

Morris High School

Carver High School

Search Occupation Category
Archival Photo 2
First Name

John

Birth City, State, Country

Spartanburg

HM ID

ATC01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

South Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Colorado

Favorite Quote

Treat them for what they are and you make them worse, treat them for what they can become and you make them better.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

2/15/1941

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Sardines, Crackers

Short Description

Hairstylist and salon owner John Atchison (1941 - ) was regarded as one of the premier educators in the hair care industry. He owned the John Atchison Salon, located in New York and Los Angeles.

Employment

Vidal Sassoon

John Atchison Beauty Salon

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:1510,15:1960,22:2335,113:9610,305:52555,815:52847,820:64378,963:75066,1069:78685,1169:90902,1382:91340,1390:93165,1426:114125,1745:117977,1813:134818,2002:140002,2106:147926,2216:151096,2229:160023,2399:160892,2420:204696,2878:205480,2884$0,0:3250,20:16390,149:16900,156:17580,165:18260,179:20640,204:21320,213:28790,282:29315,293:30890,307:33515,372:34490,414:37865,456:38390,465:70765,977:73690,1039:74365,1051:87454,1197:87722,1202:88861,1229:120398,1571:121659,1585:131150,1651:131834,1662:132290,1669:139206,1783:139662,1790:156430,2003:157902,2061:160462,2122:161294,2190:170173,2324:181170,2476:194105,2622:195730,2659:203291,2759:209118,2857:220515,2989:220847,2994:221179,2999:232730,3123:241200,3219:241739,3264:259434,3489:267570,3637:268226,3650:276655,3760:288638,3891:289026,3896:290510,3913
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of John Atchison's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - John Atchison lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - John Atchison talks about his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - John Atchison talks about building relationships with his family members

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - John Atchison talks about researching his maternal family history

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - John Atchison talks about his father's cab company, and the limousine business run by his uncle

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - John Atchison talks about his childhood love of cowboys

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - John Atchison recalls memories of growing up in Spartanburg, South Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - John Atchison describes his childhood hometown of Spartanburg, South Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - John Atchison considers what might have inspired him to own his own buisness

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - John Atchison lists the schools he attended in South Carolina, and describes a prophesy he received at church as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - John Atchison talks about moving to live in New York City as a teenager

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - John Atchison talks about attending school in New York City, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - John Atchison talks about working in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - John Atchison describes what motivated him to attend cosmetology school

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - John Atchison describes the triumphs and challenges of attending cosmetology school

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - John Atchison describes the cosmetology field, hair trends during his early career, and his first two jobs

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - John Atchison talks about getting hired as an assistant at Vidal Sassoon Salon

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - John Atchison talks about resigning from Vidal Sassoon Salon, and his vision for African American haircare and styling

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - John Atchison describes how he was hired to work at Vidal Sassoon Salon in New York City, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - John Atchison talks about the challenges he faced as a trainee and manager at Vidal Sassoon Salon in New York City, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - John Atchison talks about opening his first hair salon, John Atchison Salon

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - John Atchison talks about how he built his clientele

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - John Atchison describes how his haircutting techniques contributed to his national recognition as a hairstylist

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - John Atchison comments on clients that have aided his development as a hairstylist, including Camille Cosby and Minnie Riperton

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - John Atchison reflects upon his talent and haircutting techniques

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - John Atchison considers what makes a great head of hair

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - John Atchison talks about what he learned as a manager at Vidal Sassoon Salon, and how he applies those skills to the John Atchison Salon

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - John Atchison briefly reflects upon the maturation of his relationship philosophy

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - John Atchison describes the experiences that led him to become an educator, and eventually create a training program for stylists

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - John Atchison talks about forming the Cultural Events Committee

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - John Atchison talks about the development of the John Atchison Training Center

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - John Atchison talks about what inspired his hair care line

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - John Atchison reveals his plans for the future pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - John Atchison reveals his plans for the future pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - John Atchison reflects upon the state of African Americans in the hair care industry

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - John Atchison talks about his initial decision to focus on hair products over salon expansion

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - John Atchison talks about the significance of African American entrepreneurship in the hair industry

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - John Atchison makes an analogy of playing cowboys and Indians as a child

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - John Atchison reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - John Atchison narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - John Atchison describes photographs, pt. 2

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DATitle
John Atchison talks about getting hired as an assistant at Vidal Sassoon Salon
John Atchison reflects upon his talent and haircutting techniques
Transcript
And so okay so you're doing that-Charles [Rome] gets you to come downtown [New York City, New York] and--tell us that story.$$I applied, where he was working [Paul Mitchell Salon] I didn't get hired, they didn't need anyone and I'm walking around and going into various shops. I went to the top shops at that time, Kenneth's [Salon, New York City, New York]. I went to Vidal Sassoon's [Salon, New York, New York], okay then I went downtown to--the guy who was the top guy, a black guy in New York was Walter Fountaine. He and a guy named Rudel [Briscoe] and they had just broken up their shop and I got a job as an assistant working with Walter and a guy in Walter's shop named Lloyd Rota (ph.) from Bermuda. He had trained in London [England] so he had these little scissors and he was cutting hair and he was real cool, I mean he was so smooth and I assisted him and Walter. I used to just watch him, study his style because I loved the way he handled his clients and hair but I had been intrigued with the Sassoon thing because when I was roller skating-I came from a ice skating rink and I passed his shop. I didn't know it was Vidal Sassoon's at the time, I just knew I liked the ambience of what I saw in the window. When I was working at Walter's I used to go to Sassoon's to apply and I told Walter [Fountaine] I was interested in working with Vidal [Sassoon] and he said he knew him and he really wanted me to stay with him but if that's what I wanted to do then fine. So I would just keep going to Sassoon's every month I would go and apply, they didn't need anybody and I'd just keep coming back. Eventually I'm going to get hired, they will get tired of telling me no and eventually I got hired as an assistant.$$So tell me what world that opened up for you and what period of time--how long have Vidal been around?$$I really didn't find the year that Vidal came over, I might have read it someplace but I think he came over in the late '50s [1950s] okay and he revolutionized the whole hair cutting, hair styling thing because his emphasis was on cutting and blow drying and everyone else in New York was teasing, back combing big hair. So that was a hot shop to be in. I didn't know that at that time, I just knew that I liked the ambience and I wanted to learn. After my experience with Walter who when I started with him, I wasn't a stylist, I was an assistant. Now I'm still working in the subway selling tokens. So when I finally got hired the fellow who hired me became a mentor later on, a guy named Edward Wadsworth [Green], he's not here anymore. But I kept going there and when I got hired oh boy we--they worked you, sweeping floors, getting coffee for clients, washing towels and gowns, assisting blow drying, curling hair, shampooing and then two nights a week they would train you in hair cutting and I stayed there for five and a half years.$So you--a whole new world opened up, really with that. You sort of hesitate when I asked that.$$I was thinking about this whole new world and was I really thinking about it as a whole new world or was I thinking about it as being just grateful that I had an opportunity to--for my work to be appreciated. That was more than anything, from the beginning when people were like oh you cut so wonderful, I love your cuts. I didn't understand what the whole fuss was about. When I was at Sassoon's [Vidal Sassooon Salon, New York City, New York]and my clientele was building, I knew I wanted to build a big clientele and I knew how I was going to do it. But people began to appreciate my work, you know because I knew was going--my personality I was going to be what I thought a stylist was supposed to be about, okay and that was polite and charming and all the things you know, and you smile at the right time and do all the things and I enjoy doing it anyway. So it wasn't like I had to act it out, okay. So I enjoyed being that way; that was me anyway. So I knew I had that part down but it was the technical part, I didn't know really how good I was to other people and people--they would come back and they would fly in from different places for me to cut their hair and I didn't get it. And I always worried about what is this that they are coming back for, you know? And as things were happening, I still didn't--I didn't know what it was. Why me when they had a lot people who can cut hair.$$So now you--when you approach a head of hair can you talk about that moment?$$That was like a whole new world. The actual working on the hair, seeing the growth pattern, capturing the movement of the hair, the bone structure, the look, how it would frame a woman's face, the things that I could do with hair as I'm cutting it. How I could cut it and make it perform and grow in a different direction. How I understood the movement of it and the growth pattern from a cutting aspect and it was like without the help of anything, blow dryer, rollers or anything, I could cut that shape in there and I loved that. That was like--I would get lost into it. It was like being--making love, I mean to see that hair move and you're controlling it, you know. I mean, I just loved it. And then I knew everybody can't do this, you know. Even though there are a lot of stylists they can't cut hair and understand that they can do what I can do. Now I knew there were guys that could but there were very few, very few guys could really cut hair. And I was there, they said the guys in London [England] were really the best, I went to London and I checked them out and the best guy Sassoon had, I worked with him. Roger Thompson, he passed away about two years ago and I worked with him. Studied him--I studied all the guys who were supposed to be the best in the world and I was there and that just made me feel--it was amazing.$$So in many ways you're very much an artist?$$$$Okay, I'll take that.$$You're very good.$$People say that and I always tell people if you study something as hard and intense as I did with cutting, you will be good too. I mean that was my feeling. Now what motivates you to do that; that I don't know. Well I can't say I don't know, I say I know because it comes from God. I think God puts the talent in you. He puts the gumption in you to just go ahead and do it. Now you've got to get up and do it and that drive--it just like blew my mind. Even today if I can get a great head of hair and the freedom to cut it the way I want to, I will play in it all day long. I could just cut, just minute pieces, just getting it--perfecting it. Getting it to move but you don't have time when you're doing clients to do all of that. You've got to get to the next client so you do your very best but give me no limits, great head of hair and any texture and just watching it move.