How A Beauty Mogul Who Started Out In Her Kitchen Got Acquired By L’Oreal
Lisa Price, founder of massively popular brand Carol's Daughter, discusses how she went from scrappy side-hustle to the big beauty leagues, and the importance of maintaining perspective along the way, on this week's episode of Girlboss Radio.
At a glance, Lisa Price’s trajectory is the stuff of entrepreneurial dreams: Start small, build a devoted clientele from the ground up, attract high-profile investors, and then get acquired by a huge company. And over the course of two decades, this is precisely what Price did with her beauty company Carols’ Daughter, which she started in her Upper East Side apartment circa 1993, eventually getting acquired by L’Oreal in 2014.
But if you would have asked Price whether she could have envisioned herself associated with a brand as corporate as the beauty giant, she’d have most likely laughed it off. After bailing on her pre-law studies in college and bouncing from corporate job to corporate job, she was adverse to that kind of environment: “I was a very quirky kind of weird person and I march to the beat of my own drum,” she recounts on Girlboss Radio.
After having a blowout as an executive assistant with a boss she couldn’t stand, a friend helped her land a job as a writer’s assistant on The Cosby Show. Thankfully, Price’s experience there was positive, and it was within a somewhat unorthodox job structure that she began to realize it was in fact possible to love your job:
“It was that experience of feeling what it’s like to be an entrepreneur, learning what it is like to sacrifice time with family for work, to sacrifice your weekends for work. And that was great for me.”
As her career it television progressed, however, so did her side hustle of creating custom scents and moisturizers—an idea that was originally inspired by one of her favorite musicians, Prince, and his penchant for mixing his own essential oils. After a period of experimentation, Price began to create her own labels and peddle them at the local flea market. And slowly but surely, with Price setting up shop at as many local craft fairs and marketplaces as she could, her clientele base grew and grew.
Price would go on to see booming demand for her product and eventually open (and close) seven brick and mortar stores before getting acquired three years ago. Catch the full episode below, in which she and Sophia discuss what it’s like to have Jay-Z, Mary J. Blige, and Will and Jada Pinkett Smith as investors, and what it’s like to still feel like the quirky entrepreneur you’ve always been, even after you’ve been acquired by a huge company.
On knowing what you want, even if you don't know exactly how to get there:
“You need the passion. You don’t have to have every single step figured out before you venture out and do something.”
On her definition of "success":
“[Success is] speaking up and finding my voice and not letting fear stop me from doing things.”
On what she learned from working in (and rejecting) a corporate environment:
“I’m not a corporate person. I don’t dress like them. I don’t talk like them. But I can definitely learn from them, and they can learn from me too.”
Words: Deena Drewis