Thursday, May 1, 2014

Report: Carol's Daughter Isn't Filing for Bankruptcy

By Tenisha Mercer

News FLEW late last week that natural hair care company Carol's Daughter had filed for bankruptcy.

Folks all over the Internets, on blogs and on Facebook, talking about why and how Carol's Daughter Founder Lisa Price messed up. They'd all but nailed the coffin shut, lamenting and pontificating on blogs written THREE years ago about how Price rattled her core fan base (essentially accusing her of selling out to focus on a multi-cultural audience) from the now defunct 2012 ad campaign featuring Selita Eubanks, Solange and Cassie.

Yes, you read that right, a 2011 blog! Folks blamed it on Carol's Daughter exec  Steve Stout, how he doesn't like Black folks (what did ANY of that have to do with this)?

Careful. Only thing is, most of what was written about Carol's Daughter last week wasn't true, according to Price. I've been on vacay for the past week and in chill mode (I kno), so I didn't write anything about it.

But I'm so glad that I waited.

Seems like most of ya'll may have been dead wrong (hey, I've rushed to judgement on stuff before, too, and even I had a convo with one of my good friends about this topic).

Carole's Daughter isn't filing for bankruptcy and, in fact, things are going quite well for the company, according to Price, who said reports about the company's bankruptcy filing were "misleading." I know I saw her new line in Target yesterday, but this is what Price said on her company's Facebook page in an open letter today:

“It’s important to set the record straight,” Price wrote. “Carol’s Daughter is still going strong after twenty-one years and the future has never looked brighter. As part of our increased focus on new retail channels, we have decided to close five of our stores. This was portrayed as if we’re having some challenges, but nothing could be further from the truth.”
The company closed FIVE stores, count 'em, FIVE. Nothing more, nothing less, said Price. The whole company isn't going down the tubes. They are just doing what many retailers, including Sears, Target and other stores, do every day: They close store that don't perform well. That is all. And it makes perfect sense.

In fact, Price says, the company is closing the retail stores to focus on MORE retail channels, including digital and on-air partnerships. Read: Prob HSN and Target, where the line launched in March, as well as others. I saw her products ALL UP in Target last night!
“The nationwide Target launch this past March is an opportunity that very few companies receive. I am proud of that. I am also proud and blessed to have valuable partners like HSN, Ulta and Sephora inside JC Penny. These partnerships have enabled me to distribute Carol’s Daughter in over 2.500 stores and on direct TV which is far beyond the reach of my living room in Brooklyn.”
See the full letter here. 

Investors react

Celebrity investor Jada Pinkett-Smith, who has invested in the company along with her husband Will Smith, Jay Z and Mary J. Blige — also defended the brand on Facebook and showed her hair's progress with Carol's Daughter products.

I know you all often see my hair in various ways, but what you see in these pics is MY natural hair. I’ve taken care of this mane with CAROL’S DAUGHTER products for over 15 years, specifically…Lisa’s Hair Elixir. With that said, Carol’s Daughter is still going strong, despite some misleading press, so much so you can now find it in Target, on HSN, Ulta and Sephora inside JCPenny.

My hair would like to say thank you to Lisa Price of Carol’s Daughter for making products that actually nourish the scalp and hair;)J
 My take

Natural hair care companies face all kinds of challenges. No matter if I use Carol's Daughter products or not, I want to see natural hair care companies run by people of color/Black folks, be successful. I want to see other the Lisa Prices, Miss Jessie's, Oyin's and other hair care products of the world be successful.

Not all of them have products that are for me, but that's the good thing about choice --- that's what we need. One success means more success for us all, cause there used to be a time when naturals had few to little choices for hair care products and shelves WEREN'T overflowing with products that catered to natural hair.

Support Carol's Daughter

This is one case in which I hope the media IS wrong. Saying a company is bankrupt is the death knell for businesses owned by people of color. We DO NOT WANT folks to stop buying her hair products because they think she's going out of business.

I will say this: I just wish Price had rounded her PR up on Friday, when I first started seeing news reports, rather than nearly an entire week later. This move gets a side eye, because they needed to react IMMEDIATELY. 
And, for the record, as a former business reporter and editor, bankruptcy doesn't always mean you are going out of business; it can mean that you are reorganizing your financial obligations so that you aren't overwhelmed by debt. Companies go bankrupt or near bankrupt and emerge from it all the time, leaner, stronger (Kmart, General Motors, real estate investor Donald Trump) and more successful. 

I'd definitely like to know how this vicious rumor got started, but let's focus on supporting Lisa Price for now. Lisa Price has been in the industry for more than 20 years -- well before natural hair became mainstream .Let's support her. I plan on stopping by Sephora or Target this weekend to buy some Carol's Daughter products. How about you?

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