PHOTO GALLERY: The Business of Black Haircare

EdGardner2

With the growing popularity of the Jheri-mack curl, 17-year-old Soft Sheen finally breaks through the competitive pack. The Chicago-based company, which grossed $500,000 in 1981, found a way to untangle salon owners’ problems. Developing Care Free Curl and a host of moisturizers, conditioners and activators, CEO Edward Gardner and his family-run businesses reduced the time for beauticians to style customers and as a result, boosted the profitability of salons. Grossing $55 million in revenues in 1982, the company ranked No.8 in its debut showing on the 1983 Top 100. It would remain the largest black-owned haircare company for 14 years. (Image: Edward Gardner)

With the growing popularity of the Jheri-mack curl, 17-year-old Soft Sheen finally breaks through the…

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