Price is the owner of the Brooklyn, New York–based shop, Carol’s Daughter, Inc., which produces various homemade body and “spirit care” products. Established in 1993, Carol’s Daughter grossed US$ 15.5 million in sales in 2007, and projected sales for 2008 were around US$ 27 million. The three major names that sell Carol’s Daughters products are Dillards, Macy’s and Sephora.
Price began making natural, sweet-scented body products in her kitchen—not to make money, but to have fun and feel good. She enjoyed people’s reactions to her deliciously scented oils—including Phylicia Rashad, a main cast member of The Cosby Show. In her memoir, Rashad mentions the going-away gift baskets of scents Price gave to all the cast members of the show when it ended. Price had created an Indian-themed perfume for Rashad that included mango, honey, vanilla and essential oils of sandalwood and black pepper. Upon smelling her perfumed wrist, Rashad said:
“Lisa, I LOVE this. This smells so good, I think you should go into business!”
Afterward Price spent time in her kitchen in Brooklyn concocting and perfecting her recipes, but feeling depressed. She was out of work, had mounting debt, two children, and she and her husband didn’t own the home they lived in. Furthermore, Price suffered a major emotional blow when her mother died in 1994. She eventually obtained another job on a Lifetime TV show and subsequently landed an on-air segment as a fill-in, teaching people across America how to make potpourri. Price used her little-known company name, Carol’s Daughter. It was her first television appearance. Shortly after that, Essence Magazine called Price to feature one of her gift baskets in a holiday issue. Orders came rushing in, and Price—who was always insecure about being an entrepreneur without a college degree—was in business. In 2002, she received a call from a producer on Oprah, and overnight Carol’s Daughter became a hit.
The brand’s packaging is upscale and uses all natural ingredients and soothing essential oils. Carol’s Daughter’s grooming lines—which include shampoos, soaps, body butters, lotions, oils, moisturizers, perfumes and conditioners—also include a line of skin care mild enough for children. Price’s creamy Hair Butter product won an endorsement from A-list actor Brad Pitt, who along with mega-star wife Angelina Jolie, uses the product on their daughter Zahara’s hair. Pitt says in an October 2006 edition of Esquire Magazine, “Carol’s Daughter is a fantastic hair product. We got it for Z. Now her hair has this beautiful luster. And it smells nice, too.”
Celebrity endorsements for the brand began with singer Erykah Badu and were followed by praise from Star Jones on The View, then Halle Berry. Investments from Will and Jada Pinkett Smith and Jay-Z ensued, then singer Mary J. Blige appeared on the brand’s website and brochures, with Pinkett Smith as a brand spokesmodel.
The company is expanding with several new stores: in 2008, along with Price’s new business partner Steve Stoute (“a music exec turned marketing whiz”), Carol’s Daughter opened—for the first time—in a mall store in Long Island’s Roosevelt Field. A second store will open at Newport Center in Jersey City. There are also two New York shops: one on 125th Street in Harlem and the flagship store at South Elliot Place in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Brooklyn’s Atlantic Terminal also has a Carol’s Daughter kiosk.
Initially the Carol’s Daughter brand appealed primarily to African-American women, but it has attracted the interest of just about every demographic of socially conscious consumers who desire natural, organic beauty products. In addition, Carol’s Daughter is involved in various philanthropic and charitable organizations. It recently teamed up with the Lupus Foundation of America (LFA), donating a portion of sales from its lip gloss line, Candy Paint, to the LFA.
Success for Carol’s Daughter began in the US and Caribbean and spread via word of mouth. The brand developed a reputation for providing earthy and wholesome products that were also sexy and glamorous. Price’s wise business decisions that grew the brand slowly—even with the major exposure and celebrity endorsements—paid off in bottom line profits and strengthened brand equity.
Lisa Price and the Carol’s Daughter brand have come a long way from that kitchen in Brooklyn. Today when Price makes appearances on the Home Shopping Network, her products sell out in minutes. Thankfully, Price remains humble and keeps herself surrounded by smart investors and a savvy brand strategy team. Not a bad plan for a woman who smells of success.