Monday, August 07, 2017

America's First Female Millionaire

America's first female millionaire was a African-American, lived in Indianapolis, and should be better known than she is.

The good news is that she is getting some overdue credit for her accomplishments.  A 2014 story in TIME Magazine was recently mentioned on Reddit (which is where I found it mentioned.)

The difficulties she faced: sexism and racism among them, make the trivial setbacks and challenges I have faced in my entrepreneurial journey seem insignificant. 

Madame C. J. Walker was born on December 23, 1867 to parents who were former slaves.  She made her fortune in the hair care products business. The building where she operated in Indianapolis is still there as a testament to her success.  I've visited it often as a volunteer with Business Ownership Initiative to help other entrepreneurs succeed.

She developed a sales agent program, leveraged the power of black media (in 1890!) and developed a multi-level marketing system BEFORE AMWAY!

A black mom, widowed at 20, she was making $1.50/day as a washerwoman when she came up with the idea for a hair tonic that helped her stop losing her hair.

Her brilliant marketing strategy was founded on sharing her success with her sales agents. Not only generous, but motivating. She created a source of philanthropy that has lasted for over 125 years!