In honor of Women’s History Month, Janell Stephens, founder and CEO of Camille Rose, is paying homage to the first black millionaire in America, Madam C.J. Walker, with the launch of the Camille Rose Wonderful Hair Grower.
In 2012, Stephens launched Camille Rose after formulating products in her kitchen for years. Her products can now be found in over 100 Target stores, Walmart, Bed Bath & Beyond, Sally’s Beauty, Whole Foods, Walgreens, CVS, and other retailers.
Over a century ago, Madam Walker’s Hair Grower hit the market and quickly catapulted her success within the haircare industry. The Camille Rose Wonderful Hair Grower is a recreation of Walker’s first-ever hair product. The Camille Rose Wonderful Hair Grower mirrors the original tin packaging and design, replacing Walker’s image with the brand’s logo.
And the launch is perfectly timed with the premiere of Netflix’s highly anticipated four-part series, Self Made.
We caught up with Stephen’s to learn more about how Madam Walker inspired her, the product, and the legacy she plans to leave as a black woman entrepreneur in the beauty industry.
What inspired you to recreate Madam C.J. Walker’s hair grower packaging?
When I first found out about her life story being released on Netflix, my creative brain ran wild! I have always been intrigued and inspired by Madam C.J.’s life story since before I created my own brand. I told my Camille Rose team that we must pay homage to her by recreating her photo images. I also told them that I wanted to take it a step further and remake her first product. I wanted to use as many ingredients that I could in my formula. One of the key ingredients that she used was sulfur, which is known to not smell so good. She used lavender to mask the scent as much as possible. In my product, not only did I keep the sulfur but I kept the natural scent of the ingredients to keep it as vintage as possible.
Tell us more about the product!
The Hair Grower by Camille Rose was crafted to help soothe scalp issues and to stimulate hair growth. The growing phase of your hair should last longer by using our hair grease. It will also treat scalp dandruff, eczema of the scalp, and psoriasis.
As a black woman in the haircare industry, how has Walker’s legacy influenced you as a businesswoman?
Madam C.J. Walker’s legacy has influenced me as a businesswoman because she was an advocate of women’s economic independence. She paved the way for the profound social changes that altered women’s place in American society and discovered her power and claimed it—and then brought others into the fold. That is her lasting lesson and I want that to be mine as well.
What advice do you have for black women looking to enter the industry?
My advice would be that while building your own empire, you must always keep in mind others that will come after you. Be sure to give and do your best so that the door for others will be left open and it would not be as difficult for others to get in. If we all practice this in business as a whole, we would see more and more black-owned companies have longevity and success.
What impact do you hope to have as an entrepreneur and what do you want your legacy to be?
My goal is to continue to build awareness in all categories and sections of retail chains. Camille Rose is more than a haircare brand. Our focus is to create lifestyle products. Soon you will see a Camille Rose product in every section that you shop in and I can’t wait!
The hair grower retails for $5 and is available exclusively online.