Created in her home, Carol’s Daughter is now a multimillion-dollar line of must-have beauty products.
When you hear about the humble beginnings of most successful people, it’s natural to wonder what makes them different from the ones who didn’t or couldn’t get their dreams off the ground. With Lisa Price, and perhaps most entrepreneurs, the secret seems to be a special trifecta: tenacity, self-belief, and support.
As Lisa explains in most interviews and on the website of the company that started it all, Carol’s Daughter, she simply had a talent for concocting natural hair and skincare products for African American women in her kitchen sink, and – with the encouragement of her mother – she ran with it.
Lisa’s first customers were family and friends, but she eventually gained a steady following through word of mouth and her sales were boosted further by showcasing her products at festivals and flea markets. The budding entrepreneur then chose a meaningful name for the company: “I listed everything I was and wanted to be and realized the most special thing that I am is Lisa, Carol’s daughter,” she says on the Carol’s Daughter website. Six years later, she opened her first boutique in Brooklyn.
Selling her products online and appearing on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2002 certainly helped Lisa take the next big steps in her business: writing a book (Success Never Smelled So Sweet: How I Followed My Nose and Found My Passion), launching Carol’s Daughter products on the Home Shopping Network, and travelling to Tahiti where she uncovered monoi oil and translated the ingredient into the company’s best-selling collection.
Despite the naysayers who disagreed with the decision, Lisa eventually expanded by selling the company she started to cosmetic giant L’Oreal. She knew that aligning with a corporation was a solid long-term business goal and had actually pegged the company as her first choice a few years prior. Building a reputable business is all well and good, she has explained, but enjoying the comforts of an experienced team to help you can definitely beat spending days on your feet.
Today, Carol’s Daughter – her baby – is worth millions of dollars and sells in over 30,000 retail stores across the United States, including Ulta Beauty, Target, Walgreens, and CVS. She’s also enjoyed celebrity support from the likes of Will Smith, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Jay-Z, and Mary J. Blige. Lisa continues to work on sales on the Home Shopping Network and goes into the office every day, but she has learned to balance her professional and personal lives.
“My life has taught me how to take risks, how to move forward even though I may be afraid, how to listen, even when I don’t want to, and ‘[that] it is okay to mess up,” she says. But whatever mistakes she thinks she’s making are clearly working for her.
Twenty-five years after the seeds were first planted, Lisa Price can proudly say she has an empire on her hands. She is strong and confident in her business decisions, and she can vouch for them, given the incredible success of Carol’s Daughter. Persistence is a mighty thing – as is a mother’s support.
Robyn Naster | Contributing Writer