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Black History Month 2022: Black History of Beauty Bosses: From Annie Turnbo Malone & Madam C.J. Walker To Monique Rodriguez & Mielle Organics

Source: BreAnna Holmes / Radio One


When talking about the roots of hair care in the African-American community, all roads lead to Madam C.J. Walker. But, Walker got her start selling the products of another Black woman, Annie Turnbo Malone.

Malone was a Black woman who had arrived in St. Louis ahead of the 1904 World’s Fair. She promoted her hair care products and methods there. In 1903, Walker began using Malone’s products like the Great Wonderful Hair Grower. Her hair problems improved, so she became a Poro sales agent.

In 1905, Walker traveled to Denver to sell Poro products. During this time, she pursued her hair care solutions and became a cook for pharmacist Edmund L. Scholtz. Scholtz may have helped her understand the chemistry of the hair products she was selling.

In 1906, shortly after her marriage to Charles Joseph Walker and official name change to Madam C.J. Walker, she created her formula for hair growth and scalp conditions. She stopped working for Malone and sold Madam C.J. Walker’s Wonderful Hair Grower.

No matter who thought of it first, the art of selling beauty products to African-American women from a Black woman became the road map for beauty companies long after Annie Turnbo Malone and Madam C.J. Walker.

For instance, beauty brand Mielle Organics has established itself as a force within the hair care industry. Helmed by Monique Rodriguez, Mielle started through humble beginnings on social media. Using her medical knowledge as a nurse, Rodriguez purchased hair care products and would discuss their ingredients on Instagram. She then decided to create her hair concoctions and share their performance on her platform. It wasn’t until one person reached out to her asking if she could purchase one of her products that she decided to produce them on a larger scale.

“I’m not a person who just wants to push a product,” Rodriguez told curlBOX TV. “I also want to educate my consumers. I think I do that well because of my background in nursing. I always worked with women so it just came naturally to me to work with women and to talk about something that I love and that I was passionate about and that was hair.”

Since launching in 2014, Mielle has grown to a multi-million dollar company. Starting in Rodriguez’s garage, the company has since moved from a 3,000 square foot warehouse to a 20,000 square foot warehouse. The hair care line boasts more than 60 products such as the ever-popular Babassu Oil and Mint Deep Conditioning Protein/Moisture Replenisher with endorsements from celebrities such as Yandy Smith-Harris, Saweetie, Toya Johnson and LeToya Luckett. You can find it significant retailers such as Sally’s Beauty, Target and CVS. It’s also available in 87 countries worldwide.

Rodriguez meets customers where they’re at by adopting a “roots to results” approach to her products. It has helped her become a success today and sets the tone for the future.

See Also: Black Owned Hair Care Brand Mielle Organics Secures $100 Million In Venture Capital Funding

See Also: Toya Johnson Praises Mielle Organics Drops For Regrowing Her Edges

See Also: Saweetie Reveals The Product That Keeps Her Baby Hairs Poppin’ Relatable

Social Copy For Creative Services: Mielle Organics is a multi-million dollar company that derives its roots from the work of women such as Annie Turnbo Malone and Madam CJ Walker. Here’s how Monique Rodriguez bossed up and built her empire.

Beauty Bosses: From Annie Turnbo Malone & Madam C.J. Walker To Monique Rodriguez & Mielle Organics  was originally published on