Barbie is continuing to honor powerful and inspiring women. Today they revealed the Gloria Estefan doll for her birthday, and last week they also introduced one for Madam C.J. Walker as apart of their Inspiring Women series.
Walker is considered the nation’s first documented self-made female millionaire and was born Sarah Breedlove in 1867 on a Delta, Louisiana cotton plantation. She is the daughter of Owen and Minerva Anderson Breedlove, both former slaves.
She created specialized hair care products for African Americans after suffering from a scalp ailment that resulted in her own hair loss. Walker worked for the successful hair-care product entrepreneur Annie Turnbo Malone before experimenting with her own products.
Her Barbie is sculpted to her likeness and wears a full-length skirt and a blouse with a beautiful floral print and ruffled details. A Madam C.J. Walker’s Wonderful Hair Grower accessory completes her look.
Walker Manufacturing Company started selling Madam C. J. Walker’s Wonderful Hair Grower in 1906. She established Madam C.J. Walker Laboratories in 1911 and began recruiting sales agents in major cities across the country. Read lessons every beauty entrepreneur can learn from Madam C.J. walker’s life here.
Per Biography, Walker once said the formula of her hair grower came to her in a dream: “God answered my prayer, for one night I had a dream, and in that dream, a big Black man appeared to me and told me what to mix up for my hair. Some of the remedies was grown in Africa, but I sent for it, mixed it, put it on my scalp, and in a few weeks my hair was coming in faster than it had ever fallen out. I tried it on my friends; it helped them. I made up my mind I would begin to sell it.”
Walker was also an activist and philanthropist. In 1913 she donated the largest amount of money by an African American toward the construction of an Indianapolis YMCA.
Lisa McKnight, executive vice president and global head of Barbie for Mattel, said in a statement, “As a pioneer in entrepreneurship, philanthropy, and activism, creating the blueprint for the self-made American businesswoman and innovators of the twentieth century.“ “Madam C.J. Walker is an embodiment of our Barbie Inspiring Women series.”
Walker joins women like Rosa Parks, Ida B. Wells, Maya Angelou, Eleanor Roosevelt, Susan B, Anthony, and more in the Inspiring Women series.