Carol's Daughter Purchased by L'Oreal, To Mixed Reviews From Its Uber-Loyal Fans
From twist-outs, to wash-and-gos, to vivacious afros, naturalistas with their crowns of curls and coils take pride in their natural hair. The digital age has ushered in YouTube videos, blogs and Instagram pages galore that keep women in the loop on the latest styling trends, products, how to dye your hair as healthy as possible and more. And, similar to style blogs, product placements of natural hair and skin care products, have become common within the online natural hair community. The latest product that perhaps is considered a trailblazer in the most current wearing of natural hair, is Carol's Daughter, which on Monday, was purchased by L'Oreal.
Specifically targeted toward African-American women, the beauty brand was founded in 1993 and led by Lisa Price, who named the company after her mother. The L'Oreal acquisition is a result of the recent decline the company has faced. According to NPR, Carol's Daughter saw a drop in sales at its seven brick-and-mortar boutiques in 2010 and 2011 and natural hair companies such as Miss Jessie's and Mixed Chicks has offered some pretty hefty competition. Following was the closing of five of the company's boutiques and a filing for bankruptcy protection. In order to strengthen the brand and maintain what it considers its loyal customers, Price felt the L'Oreal purchase was a smart move, even though others, specifically African Americans, believe it to be a slap in the face.
As usual, many consumers (and non-consumers) took to Twitter to voice their opinions on a major French cosmetics company, which holds Maybelline, NYX and Essie under its umbrella, housing a black hair care business. Despite the backlash and accusations of her selling out, Price says that she made decisions that she thought was best for the brand, and most importantly that the formula for the products won't change. In an interview with The Michigan Chronicle, Prices says:
The brand still has my motyher’s [sic] name on it. I still feel a responsibility to her and to my family. So I’m not going to make a decision that I feel is compromising her name or my integrity. I’ve never been that person and I didn’t become that person on Monday.
But for some, that's simply not enough. NPR writes about L'Oreal's controversial history, such as the time that it was accused of lightening Beyoncé's skin in a 2008 Feria advertisement. A Jezebel writer praises Price's leadership, but doubts that L'Oreal will provide any due diligence in maintaining the mission of Carol's Daughter. And, social media sites are filled with timelines of disappointment. Writes one user on Twitter:
Nonetheless, the trolling was matched with a slew of praise from the African American community. Black Enterprise outlined thoughts about "Owning Businesses While Black." And fans also congratulated Price on Twitter. The recent acquisition will focus on diversifying the brand and reaching a global audience.