Lisa Price

Lisa Price: Entrepreneur, Innovator and Carol’s Daughter

The founder of the beauty empire explains why being a Black woman CEO is a plus

Melanie Yvette

by Melanie Yvette, December 11, 2012

Lisa Price

Lisa Price

Believe it or not, Lisa Price isn't one to jump in front of a camera or a crowd. But she surely did jump in front of her brand. Over two decades ago, the founder and creator of Carol's Daughter started mixin' and fixin' in her kitchen alongside her husband. But what she didn't know was that she'd become one of the forces behind a natural hair care movement that would soon rock the entire beauty industry. 

EBONY: Can you tell EBONY readers where Carol's Daughter really began?

Lisa Price: The line began as a hobby of mine. I was making products in my kitchen and using them on myself and giving them to family and friends. Nineteen years ago, my mother suggested that I sell at a church flea market, and that was the first time that I sold something to the public. My business began to grow from there. In terms of the name, one day I wrote a list of stuff that I felt I was and what I wanted to become. Of the things on that list, I wrote that I was a daughter and my mom's name is Carol. For some reason, I just liked the way it sounded when I said it. So eventually, [Carol’s Daughter] was the name that stuck.

EBONY: Why did you focus on natural products as a part of the branding?

LP: Well, the main reason is because I started in my kitchen, so I was using ingredients I could get my hands on and that I can actually put on the stove and make. It wasn’t a decision based on a movement in beauty because that wasn’t even a conversation back then.

EBONY: Tell me about the operation. Was this just a one-woman show in the beginning?

LP: In the beginning, it was my husband and I. My husband made deliveries for me and he would help me sell. I’m not as gregarious as my husband, so I don’t walk up to strangers and start up a conversation. I would be the one making the product and making things look pretty, and he would be the one standing up and getting people to come in and buy it. It expanded through friends and family. My brother worked for me for a couple of years, my husband worked for me for a number of years, and some other brothers came to work for me. There was a point where I had 10 to 12 people working inside of my house. I always feel like it’s a team that really makes things work, because there is only so much a person can do by themselves.

EBONY: I agree with that.  I think that a team makes the brand, the product and everything else just a little bit more special.

LP: And it helps you to grow. There are so many things that you will never get the chance to do because there aren’t enough hours in the day.

EBONY: Do you remember the moment you realized Carol’s Daughter was going to be something special?

LP: I think it hit me at different times. There is one moment in particular that I remember, when the business was very, very young. It was just my husband and I, and we were coming up on the holiday season. I was still working in TV, but I had planned not to work from that November to January, because during the holiday I could make a lot of money from selling Carol's Daughter. I chose not to look for freelance jobs during those months and took a leap of faith [to focus on Carol’s Daughter only]. I remember we went out shopping for bottles and spent close to $900, which is something I’d never done before. We lugged all these bottles up to our fourth floor apartment in Brooklyn. I remember trying to find storage for $900 worth of bottles in my apartment and I had this moment of, “What the hell am I doing?” When I got to the end of that holiday season and I sold out of all of that stuff, and had to go back and buy more glass jars to finish my orders, I felt like I was on to something. I didn’t even think I was going to sell out what I invested initially.

EBONY: Can you share a very specific mistake or regret you made during your journey?

LP: There are lots of mistakes that we make along the way. Sometimes the mistakes are different, but what I’ve found is that they have the same underlying theme. One of my biggest mistakes was making a decision based on someone else’s experience. Your gut could say, “Maybe we should do this or that,” but you instead rely on the expertise of other people to think for you. I can’t really

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