Year-round, Thrive Causemetics celebrates and recognizes the achievements of women. Thank YOU, our Thrive Causemetics Family, for joining us this February for our Black History celebration presented by our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council. Throughout the month, we highlighted the stories of Black women who changed the beauty space forever. We hope that this inspires you to continue seeking out the often-overlooked contributions of the Black community in every aspect of our society.
Read on for a recap of our beautiful history lesson + inspiration from Team Thrive Causemetics!
Annie Malone (b. 1869)
Entrepreneur Annie Malone became one of the first African American women to become a millionaire after developing an entire line of beauty and hair care products catering to Black women. In 1902, she established Poro College Company in St. Louis, Missouri, the first African American cosmetology school and distribution center in the country. Poro College Company went on to become a global business and with her success, Annie donated large amounts of her wealth back to the community. Despite being met with opposition from a segregated and sexist society, Annie created ladders for other African Americans to join her in building a beauty empire.
Madam C.J. Walker (b. 1867)
Madam CJ Walker is recorded as the first African American woman to become a self-made millionaire. Born to parents who were sharecroppers in Louisiana, she was the first in her family to be born free after the Emancipation Proclamation. After moving to St. Louis and discovering Annie Malone’s hair products, she enrolled in Poro College where she specialized in and sold beauty products that catered to the needs of the Black community. In 1905 she launched her own line of Black hair care products using the limited distribution and marketing strategies available to her due to segregation. Madam CJ Walker deeply cared about Black women's economic independence and employed over 40k people across the US, Carribean and Central America. As an activist, she supported the NAACP and donated ⅔ of her company’s future net profits to charities, individuals and schools.
Beverly Johnson (b. 1952)
In the summer of 1971, Beverly Johnson was on break from college where she was studying Criminal Justice. She decided to try out modeling and quickly booked her first shoot with Glamour Magazine. Just 3 years later in 1974, she changed the fashion and beauty industry forever by becoming the first African American model to star on the cover of Vogue, challenging what American media institutions deemed as "beautiful". Because of Beverly, Black models appeared more frequently in American fashion shows, photoshoots and magazine covers. During her modeling career, she insisted on working with Black makeup artists and hairstylists to increase diversity in the industry. Since her debut, Beverly has been on the cover of over 500 magazines, written books, acted in major movies, tv shows and starred in her own reality tv-series which aired on Oprah's OWN Network.
Lisa Price (b. 1962)
Lisa Price, founder of Carol’s Daughter is a beauty pioneer who created a multi-million dollar hair, body and skincare company from her Brooklyn kitchen. In 1993, Lisa Price began gifting her friends all-natural hair and body care products she made at home. Her mom Carol encouraged her to start a business, and lovingly, Lisa named the business Carol’s Daughter. She began selling her products at local Brooklyn markets and created a supportive customer base–her operations grew from her and her husband to a team of 12. After she was featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show, she reached 27 million dollars in sales! In 2014, Lisa Price sold Carol’s Daughter to L’Oreal becoming one of the largest Black beauty acquisitions in history.
Continue reading to hear from our Team Thrive Causemetics’ Diversity, Equity + Inclusion Council about the importance of representation in the beauty industry + beyond!
Why is it important to recognize Black History Month?
“Black women have been the trendsetters and trailblazers in beauty without the recognition that they deserve! It is important to acknowledge the creativity and knowledge that Black women bring to our industry.”
- Tia K., Customer Experience Team
“Simply put, because Black history is American history; world history even! There are many who have no idea of the countless contributions that Black people, including inventors, engineers and scientists, have made to our society largely because these stories have gone untold. Did you use a GIF in your last text message? You can thank Lisa Gelobter, a Black woman, for that. GPS, traffic signals, home security systems, the personal computer and color monitors - all of these things, and so much more, that we use and interact with on a daily basis were created by Black people. The brilliance of Black people, in the face of the fight we continue to endure for equality, is certainly worthy of celebration, not just in February, but every single day!”
- Kinta G., Supply Chain Team + DEI Team
“In our society, we often lose sight of people who have sacrificed so much, persevered and rose above adversity to inspire others. It is so important to be reminded of the many ways in which Black people have impacted our society and to honor their hard work through celebration and admiration. In this time of heightened racial tension and injustices, it is more important than ever to recognize the grand contributions of Black people to our community, country, and world.”
- Andrea M., Legal Team
“It's important to take this month to pause to remember and celebrate achievements and the remarkable role and contribution the Black community has made in American history. It's a beautiful thing to watch all people from all races come together this month to recognize the struggle, the significant events and bring awareness to the heroes and leaders that deserve to be honored. It's an even more beautiful thing to not just recognize Black History Month but also to recognize it throughout the entire year. How do we incorporate it continuously as Black History is American History? We need to get into good trouble to find out!”
- Chelsea S., Technology Team
Why is it important to recognize the contributions of Black women in the beauty industry?
“Racial injustices still exist today and Black women in beauty are often still overlooked and ignored— and have been for decades! Black content creators continue to steer popular culture yet, they are not given equitable partnership opportunities. Beauty industry statistics highlight this issue very transparently which further emphasizes why it is so important to recognize AND celebrate all the contributions Black women have made to this industry.“
- Alex L., Growth Marketing Team
“It is important to recognize the contributions of Black women in all industries publicly, but specifically the beauty industry because this will inspire the younger generations to redefine beauty! Seeing black women leading in this industry will motivate a movement to revolutionize the industry!”
- Yesenia G., Human Resources Team
How can our customers continue to support Black women in beauty beyond Black History Month?
“As a brand and as individuals, we should constantly be educating ourselves and putting that newfound knowledge into practice. You have to be intentional with recognizing how racism presents itself in our everyday lives in both automatic and unconscious ways. Taking on this responsibility will be uncomfortable and requires you to recognize your own privilege in order to advocate for equity. It's important to remember our role in this work; WE have to do the work of educating ourselves, amplifying Black voices and experiences, and advocating for change. We cannot and should not expect Black women to do the work for us.”
- Karly K., Growth Marketing Team
“Support and engage with black content creators! There is some really incredible talent and artistry out there and a wealth of black creators that do not receive recognition and adequate representation in popular media and brands' social content. By engaging with black content creators, we not only support the creator individually but we also demonstrate the demand for that representation to be reflected in brand campaigns. Support companies that create products inclusive of deep skin tones! Hold brands accountable when they fail to create all of their products, not just complexion products, with black skin in mind by voting with your dollar and supporting other brands that do this well and by calling on brands to do better.”
- Mara G., Customer Experience Team