Her family is keeping the legacy alive!
Madam C.J. Walker just launched a new hair-care line a century after she first made history, Glamour reports.
Madam C.J. Walker made history as one of the first women to become a self-made millionaire in America, launching her hair-care brand, Madam C.J. Walker Company in 1906. A domestic worker until she was 38 years old, Walker got into the beauty business through the mentorship of other women, eventually creating her own hair-care products specialized for Black women and textured hair. During a time where Black hair products weren’t accessible or marketed to Black people, Walker took her Wonderful Hair Grower product to the streets, going door to door selling to consumers and creating a loyal army of saleswomen.
Over 100 years later, Walker’s legacy is still very much alive, the community, model and products she created evident in Black beauty brands everywhere. Not only did Netflix recently release a series about Walker’s pioneering journey, but Shea Moisture founder Richelieu Dennis was previously looking to turn Walker’s historic estate into a training center for Black women entrepreneurs. Now her legacy is returning full circle, with a new hair-care line called Madam by Madam C.J. Walker.
“[Madam Walker] represents this arc of a life to overcome obstacles. She was mentored by other Black women. When she finally had the chance and was in a position, she opened doors for other Black women. She was a washerwoman until she was 38. But then she invented this formula for hair care products, and realized that she was addressing a need that other women had. As she traveled around selling the products, she saw that those women were really happy to have hair-care products, but what they needed was education and economic independence. She made that as much a part of her mission as the products themselves,” Walker’s great-great granddaughter, journalist and historian A’Lelia Bundles explained.
Now, Bundles has partnered with Walmart to create a new accessible product line that reflects Walker’s core values and product quality, believing that the key to strong hair is a healthy scalp. The Madam line features 11 new products including curl creams, leave-in conditioners, shampoos and Walker’s signature scalp serums. Every product in the new line is priced under $10.
Bundles worked closely alongside Sundial Brands CEO Cara Sabin, Walmart merchandising director of specialty hair Angel Beasley, and Walmart omni associate merchant Lynn Nestor to bring the new line to life. It was important to all of the women to really focus on bringing Walker’s history and legacy to a new generation, creating products and marketing campaigns catered to a newer demographic.
“What really ties everything together is our Scalp to Strand System, which is a nod to Madam C.J. Walker and her original iconic product, the Wonderful Hair Grower. We’re targeting a younger consumer. We’re on TikTok, and there’s some really exciting content coming. But at the heart of it, we wanted to make sure that we were honoring the legacy of Madam C.J. Walker,” said Sabin.
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The product recipes are all new to account for a century of research and development in the beauty space, but the core DNA of Walker’s system is at the basis for everything, from products to marketing to business infrastructure. The team say they were honored to relaunch this line in collaboration with Bundles in honor of Walker.
“It really is an honor to be a part of relaunching, in a very accessible way, for the Walmart customer…bringing something that’s under $10, that is going to be in over 3,000 stores and also online, that is what Madam C.J. Walker was doing a hundred years ago. To be a part of that legacy in 2022 is pretty amazing,” said Beasley.
“I’ve been in this role for a few months, but this is probably the first time where I can explain to my family, very clearly, what I do. This is my impact…One of the first questions I asked Angel when she was telling me about the brand was, ‘Is the family involved?’ To see how involved A’Lelia is in all of this, and really making sure that this is Madam by Madam C.J. Walker in product and name, is an amazing thing,” Nestor added.
The full Madam by Madam C.J. Walker collection is available at Walmart now!
Photo Courtesy of Madam by Madam C.J. Walker