BE 100s: Winning Lessons from Top Companies of the Year

1989 – COY Soft Sheen

We selected Soft sheen as 1989 Industrial/Service Company of the Year not only because it capitalized on the Jheri Curl to become one of the fastest-growing black haircare companies in history but it also grew into a global empire with cross-continental reach. The family-run enterprise built a world-wide distribution network for more than 150 products, including Optimum Care and Sportin' Waves. With the acquisition of a London-based distributor that exported products to Africa and the construction of a Jamaican manufacturing plant, Soft Sheen set out on its audacious mission to meet the hair care needs of a billion blacks across the globe. Within a decade, however, Soft Sheen would be acquired L'Oreal, adding to the number of BE 100s haircare companies absorbed by their majority-owned competitors.

We selected Soft sheen as 1989 Industrial/Service Company of the Year not only because it…