Madame CJ Walker was born Sarah Breedlove in 1867 in the Mississippi Delta. The child of two former slaves, she was an orphan by the age of 7. At 14 she got married and shortly after had a daughter, A’Lelia. Just two years later her husband died, and Sarah packed up her baby and moved to St. Louis to live with her brothers.
She supported her family by being a laundress during the day while going to school at night. About that time she starting losing her hair, and noticed that many other black women were losing theirs too. Sarah began experimenting with different products and eventually landed on what would be known as her “secret formula”. She started selling her products door to door, and her “hair-growing” business was born.
In 1905 she moved to Denver and married Charles J. Walker. With her business becoming more successful she decided to adopt a new name – Madame CJ Walker. Eventually, her empire grew to include a manufacturing facility, beauty schools in several states, and an army of nearly 15,000 sales representatives.
Madame CJ Walker didn’t just build a business. She birthed an enterprise, one that would liberate thousands of women from financial distress. In her own words she passionately declared her purpose:
“I am not satisfied in making money for myself. I endeavor to provide employment for hundreds of the women of my race.”
For breaking down barriers, building bridges, and birthing a business system that allowed others to rise above their circumstances we proudly proclaim Madame CJ Walker as one of our Women Who Dared.
Her perseverance carried her from the cotton field to a corporate empire. Where will your determination carry you?
Drop us a line and let us know! Hugs and Blessings ❤
PS – Don’t forget it’s Women’s History Month, and we’re using the hashtag #Dare2BMe. Please join us in helping spread the inspiration.