Monthly Archives: July 2012

Madam C.J. Walker: “From Rags to Riches” by Chrystina Wyatt

The year was 1867 and Sarah Breedlove was born on December 23 to slaves on a Delta, Louisiana Plantation.  Sarah Breedlove went from the daughter of former slaves to becoming an entrepreneur the first black millionaire. The journey for Sarah was not easy.  As you can imagine she had her share of struggles and hardships as a black woman from the South in the late 1800s and early 1900s.  Some of those hardships included being an orphaned at seven and being a widow and single parent at eighteen.

It was her own ailment that led her to success.  She developed a scalp condition that caused her to lose her hair in the 1890’s. She began creating home-remedies for hair care. She then married her third husband Charles Joseph Walker and officially changes her name to Madame C.J. Walker.  She created her own business selling her product “Madam Walker’s Wonderful Hair Grower”. Madam C.J. Walker traveled selling her products door to door for over a year.  Part of her marketing plan included demonstrations at local churches.

After her travels she moved to Pittsburgh and opened Lelia College, after her daughter A’Lelia.  Here she trained “hair culturists” to sell and advertise her products.  In 1910, she moved to Indianapolis and built a factory. In 1913, Walker expanded her brand and business to Central America and the Caribbean. She then moved to New York in 1916 where she continued to oversee her business in New York. She also continued to support philanthropies giving $5,000 to the NAACP’s anti-lynching movement and continued to be an advocate and supporter for black rights in America.

The key to her success is seen in many female cosmetic businesses we see today.  Like Mary Kay and Avon, she created sales agent positions to do the actual the selling and marketing and also did demonstration for clients.  She organized agents into local and state clubs and created a reward system as well as held conventions for her sales agents.

At her death at the age of 51, approximately 40,000 black women had been trained sales agents.  Madam C.J. Walker is one the first successful self-made American businesswomen and a pioneer of the modern black hair-care and cosmetics industry.  She worked hard to achieve her accomplishments and is on the most influential black entrepreneurs of the 1900s.

“I am a woman who came from the cotton fields of the South. From there I was promoted to the washtub. From there I was promoted to the cook kitchen. And from there I promoted myself into the business of manufacturing hair goods and preparations….I have built my own factory on my own ground.” – Madam Walker, 1912

 

References

Bundles, A’Lelia. (n.d.). Madam C.J. Walker: A Brief Biographical Essay. Retrieved July 30, 2012, from http://www.madamcjwalker.com/bios/madam-c-j-walker/

Lagace, Martha. 2007, 25 June. HBS Cases: Beauty Entrepreneur Madam Walker. Retrieved from http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/5662.html

The New York Times. (n.a.). 1919, May 26. Obituary: Wealthiest Negress Dead Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/bday/1223.html

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Lori Greiner – Part 1

Lori Greiner is noted for her appearances on ABC’s network show Shark Tank, and QVC-TV where she has hosted her own show.  She has created over 350 products and 111 U.S. and International patents.   Lori can answer any questions about the laws on having a patent, and entrepreneurship.  According to N. Robehmed and The Brooks Group, she now has a business worth millions of dollars.

Lori started out with an idea of writing a book, but before she could follow up there was already a similar one in distribution.  She decided from that point on, it would be important to patent and sell her next idea.  Greiner loves jewelry and fashion and this is what prompted her to create an earring holder.  She did her research by interviewing women on the street to see what the reaction would be to her product.  It was well received, so she took the next step to find a business that would advertise her inventions.

Greiner successfully pitched her earring holder to J.C. Penney’s and spent a lot of  time demonstrating her product, she was a natural saleswoman.  Lori believed in her creation and was respectful, but persistent.  This achieved her the opportunity for a spot on the Home Shopping Network where her product exploded and became a huge seller.

Julie

 

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Lori Greiner

A key to Lori Greiner’s success is having confidence and believing in herself as well as her products.  Lori encourages others to not let fear or adversity detain you from your goal.  Also, to be kind and respectful, but be persistent and embrace your passion.  Lori stuck to these ideas and had an amazing amount of energy that she put forth to make her dream a reality.

In the information from N. Robehmed and The Brooks Group, Lori has provided products that women love and is very useful in helping them organize their personal items.  She has created products like;

  • 7 piece set storage containers and many other items for kitchen organization.
  • All types of storage solutions for jewelry, cloths, and shoes.
  • Accessories such as, purses, headbands, and cell phone bags.
  • Cosmetic organizers.
  • Best selling jewelry boxes.

Greiner believes people matter and relationships are important.  This has assisted her in having a successful business that continues to grow.

Lori is an example for anyone interested in entrepreneurship, and especially encouraging for women.  She stresses that women are equal to anyone and it is important not to feel intimidated.  Greiner’s products have extended to Europe and are used by men as well as women.  Her inventions have affordable prices and meet the day to day needs of people everywhere.  She is enthusiastic and has been showcased on the QVC network and many popular magazines such as, Women’s Day Family Circle, and The Oprah Magazine.

Julie

 

 

 

 

 

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Warren Buffet – Philanthropy

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In 2006, Warren Buffet decided to give away about 85% of his fortune $37.4 billion dollars to charities, with the bulk of it, $31 billion going to the Bill & Melinda Gates Charitable Foundation.  Mr. Buffet has been a longtime friend of Bill Gates and they both share a passion for philanthropy.  Mr. Buffett could have saved all of this money to divide between his three children, but he does not believe that would be in their best interest.  He feels working is very important and wants them to work and earn their own money.  He of course will leave them something, but the majority of his fortune will be divided between charities.

Warren Buffets’ firm Berkshire Hathaway owns Dairy Queen so he often frequents its stores.  He also uses them occasionally to reach out to the community via Girls Inc. and has been known to converse with girl scouts and others about their futures over ice cream there.  In 2010, He signed and auctioned a huge red Dairy Queen spoon with the $4,500 in proceeds going to the Children’s Miracle Network.  A total of 59 million has been raised by Dairy Queen for the Children’s Miracle Network since 1984.  He also has auctioned multiple DQ branded, signed ukuleles with the proceeds given to the Omaha Children’s hospital.

Every year, Mr. Buffett auctions off a lunch with himself at a steakhouse, which has brought as much as 3.5 million a lunch for the Glide Foundation which fights homelessness in San Francisco.  Currently, Mr. Buffett contributes to nine major charities; some have already been mentioned the others are as follows:  The Animal Rescue Foundation, James Redford Institute for Transplant Awareness, Music Rising, NoVo Foundation and Smile Train.  Recently, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates set up “The Giving Pledge” which has 81 members mostly billionaires, who have all pledged to donate a portion of their incomes to charities. By giving away the bulk of his fortune and encouraging others to contribute their wealth to charities, Warren Buffett hopes to have started a giving trend that will continue as his legacy for many years to come.

Lucinda Choules

References

(2) Buffett, Warren (2010) The Giving Pledge. Retrieved July 29, 2012, from http://givingpledge.org/

(1) Jeremy W. Peters (2006) Buffett Always Planned to Give Away His Billions. Retrieved July 29, 2012, from mhttp://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/26/business/26cnd-buffet.html?_r=1

(3) msnbc.com (2012) Spoon a big scoop for charity. July 29, 2012, from http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38501183/ns/us_news-giving/t/buffett-signed-dairy-queen-spoon-big-scoop-charity/

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Warren Buffett

Born in Omaha, Nebraska on August 30th 1930, Warren Edward Buffett seemed destined to follow in his stockbroker father’s footsteps. Warren Buffett had an amazing ability for numbers and could correctly add multiple columns of numbers at once.  At just 11 years old he had already started investing.  In 1942, his father Howard was elected to the House of Representatives and their family moved to Fredericksburg, Virginia.  A short time after the move, young Buffett and a friend of his from high school bought a pinball machine which they installed in a barber shop in Washington.  The machine did well and they bought more machines.  Buffett enrolled in college at 16, graduating with a business degree at just 20 years old.  He then attended graduate studies at Columbia University, where he was mentored by professors David Dodd and Ben Graham who helped him perfect his trading skills.

In 1956, he moved back to Omaha, Nebraska and formed Buffett Associates Ltd.  Mr. Buffett had a knack for picking undervalued stocks that were about to take off and his investment portfolio soared.  Ten years after forming the Buffett partnership, its net worth was over 44 million dollars, climbing to 104 million by 1968.   A year later the partnership stocks were liquidated.  However, Berkshire Hathaway stock was retained as he was the director of this company.  In 1970, Warren Buffett became chairman of the board of Berkshire Hathaway; about a year later he purchased Sees candies through Berkshire Hathaway.  Moreover, in 1976 he bought shares of Geico, which later became a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway.  By the late 70’s, Buffett’s personal portfolio was worth 140 million.  By 1982, his portfolio was worth 1.3 billion.  In 1988, Mr. Buffett started buying large quantities of Coca Cola stock and by 1989 he was worth more than 3.8 billion dollars.  His stocks continued to climb in the 1990’s, until the dot-com bubble burst in 2000, at this time he made large corrections to his portfolio and his investments continued to grow.

Today at 81, Warren Buffett has holdings valued at 44.7 billion dollars.  He has remained near the top of the Forbes Billionaires list for more than a decade and is currently ranked third internationally and second in the US.  Mr. Buffett is a philanthropist and has given away billions to charities.  He strongly believes that rich people should pay a much higher income tax rate of 30%.  Thus, some people have dubbed this tax suggestion ”the Buffett Rule.” In February of this year, he announced that he might be stepping down from Berkshire Hathaway. He is now searching for the right candidate to be his successor.  Mr. Buffett’s entrepreneurial spirit, amazing math abilities, and knowledge of the stock market have earned him the title: “the Oracle of Omaha.”

 Lucinda Choules

 

References

(1) bio.truestory (2012) warrenbuffett.biography. Retrieved July 28, 2012, from http://www.biography.com/people/warren-buffett-9230729

(2) Forbes (2012) Warren Buffett. Retrieved July 29, 2012,  from http://www.forbes.com/profile/warren-buffett/

(3) Kennon, Joshua (2012) Warren Buffett Biographythe story of Berkshire Hathaways Billionaire Chairman. Retrieved July 28, 2012, from http://beginnersinvest.about.com/cs/warrenbuffett/a/aawarrenbio.htm.

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Sir Richard Branson cont.

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Sir Richard Branson has set his sights a little bit higher than most entrepreneurs and is creating a space program Virgin Galactic which will one day transport wealthy tourists into space. He is currently building a space port in Southern New Mexico. This space port will house the mission support station. Virgin Galactic also has space ports in the Mojave Desert and Sweden; and Mr. Branson is considering other space port locations in England or Scotland. In 2007, he signed a collaboration agreement with NASA and is now working on acquiring the required permits for launch.

Virgin Galactic has its own space ship building company, and they have created some very flight worthy and futuristic designs. Already, they have two ship designs built; the White Knight Two is the original design and often referred to as Eve”, by Mr. Branson  in honor of his mother.  The other ship is the newest and simply called Spaceship Two.  Test flights and glides of both ships have been conducted in the Mojave Desert, and while largely successful, they are still fine-tuning the ships.

Mr. Branson hopes to conduct his first flight with passengers by 2014. He and his two children will be among the passengers on the maiden voyage as well as actor Ashton Kutcher and scientist Stephen Hawking.  529 people have signed up for various flights, which is one person more than the total number of astronauts who have launched into space to date. The future is very bright for this self-made billionaire; he is not just taking on the World he is taking on the Galaxy!

Lucinda Choules

References

Virgin Galactic (2012) The Spaceships. Accessed July 23, 2012. http://www.virgingalactic.com/

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Sir Richard Branson

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Richard Branson

Richard Charles Nicholas Branson was born in Surrey England on the eighteenth of July, 1950.  His father was a lawyer and his mother a flight attendant. Richard dropped out of school at the age of 16 (as he was struggling due to dyslexia) and started his own magazine called Student, which was very successful, selling $8,000 in advertising its first edition. Four years later, Mr. Branson started a record mail-order business which he named Virgin.  And in 1972, he opened his first Virgin record store in London, England. With the proceeds from this record store, he opened his own recording studio under the Virgin name, and among the artists recording there, were some very big names such as: Genesis and the Rolling Stones.

As the popularity of his record stores grew he began to branch out into other areas such as Virgin Atlantic Airways, and he started a chain of Virgin Record Mega Stores. Unfortunately, in the nineties, several of his businesses were losing money. Mr. Branson was in severe financial trouble by 1992, and was forced to sell Virgin records.  Mr. Branson was deeply saddened by the loss of his company, but rather than give up he started again and purchased a radio station Virgin Radio.  A few years later he founded a second company V2 and in 1996 opened another recording studio and more record stores. He founded Virgin mobile in 1999 and Virgin Blue in 2000. This time, all of his businesses flourished.

In 1999, the Queen was impressed by his entrepreneurial efforts and added his name to the top of a millennium honors list. He was knighted the following year. Today Sir Richard Branson is a multi billionaire, and his Virgin group owns more than 200 businesses in over 30 countries with largest holdings in England, the US and Australia.  The myriad of companies owned by Virgin include: multiple airways, trains, mega record stores, a credit card company, a mobile phone service provider, a game reserve in Africa and a new US based aerospace company.

Lucinda Choules

References

(1) Sir Richard Branson. (2012). Biography.com. 05:02. Retrieved Jul 23, 2012, from http://www.biography.com/people/richard-branson-9224520

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