Madam CJ Walker: America's First Self-Made Female Millionaire

Madam C.J. Walker (PC: The Purpose of Money)


Whether we like it or not, money is what makes the world go round. It guides a lot of our family and personal decisions, and it can be a wonderful or terrible influence in our lives. So, having a good concept of money, how to use it, and how to develop a healthy relationship with it is of extreme importance.


Out of the many inspirational women I looked up in my search of women and finances, Madam C.J. Walker stood out among them. As the first American female self-made millionaire, how could she not? Madam Walker exhibited all of the traits that I wanted to learn about and now share with you all. 


"Don't sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them."

                                        - Madam C.J. Walker


She was self-made.

Born in 1867 by the name Sarah Breedlove, she was the daughter of Louisiana sharecroppers and former slaves. Notably, she was the first child in her family to be born free after the Emancipation Proclamation. Due to yellow fever, Sarah lost both of her parents, leaving her an orphan at the age of six. She was married at the age of 14, had a daughter soon after, and became a widow at only 20.


Sarah later made the brave move to St. Louis and later to Denver in efforts of creating a better life for her daughter, Leila. It was in Denver that Sarah met her husband, Charles Joseph Walker. Having struggled with hair loss herself, she was inspired to create a hair care brand for black women. Not long after, she launched her own line of hair products with only $1.25 in her pocket and renamed herself "Madam C.J. Walker."


She was innovative.

Having sold hair products before, Madam Walker was an experienced saleswoman, but the sales method she established for her own brand set her apart from everyone else. She used her connections in the black community and in her church. She personally employed thousands of black women and trained them to have a more personal approach. This not only improved Walker's sales, but also empowered the saleswomen working for her. While black women averaged about $2/week in the early 1900s, Madam Walker paid them $25/week. The decision to give her workers a fair wage, something very uncommon in this era, brought more success to her business.


She helped others.

Madam C.J. Walker was extremely generous. Over the course of her life, Walker employed 40,000 black women and used much of her wealth for philanthropic purposes. She gave to the NAACP, YMCA, established the National Negro Cosmetics Manufacturers Association and even paid for the tuition of six black college students. After passing away, Walker gave 2/3 of her wealth to charity.


Madam C.J. Walker's story is incredible and can help you with your own goals. Whether they are business specific or for general finances. She was a wonderful mother, friend, influential business owner, philanthropist, and overall inspirational woman.


"If I have accomplished anything in life, it is because I have been willing to work hard."

- Madam C.J. Walker



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