Carol’s Daughter in Brooklyn back in the day

I just got wind from the Wall Street Journal that an old favorite of mine, Carol’s Daughter, will be closing 7 of it’s 10 standalone stores. While I am quite saddened over the news, I can’t say I’m surprised. I personally have stopped using their product years ago, when I was pregnant with my daughter.

While I’m sure Carol’s Daughter will maintain its fan-base, I can honestly say that I was one of the early customers of the 90s who is no longer a fan. I would faithfully go to the original store on South Elliot Place to snap up the homemade goodies that Lisa prepared lovingly in her kitchen. But with growth all things change.

I welcomed the shine Carol’s Daughter received from artists like Erykah Badu at first. It was a nod to the natural sisters who wanted something special for their unique tastes. I also appreciated the simple ingredients, labeling and bare bones, yet home-y retail space. It showed me that there was a true dedication to the quality and intimacy of the products.

Then the big star-power came in and everything got shot to hell.

I remember being pregnant and once again going to my favorite store in Brooklyn to pick up some body essentials only to find that not only had the packaging changed, but there was a slew of foreign ingredients (namely preservatives and parabens) that had been added to the mix. Big star power was everywhere with the endorsement of Beyoncé and Jay-Z, as well as Jada and Will Smith, among others, who honestly, in my opinion, had nothing to do with the core brand. And then there was the fiasco of the beauty line that was supposed to represent sisters of all colors, but managed to stop at caramel. This was not what I came there for. I wrote an impassioned letter to Ms. Price, and received a call from Product Development a few weeks later. It seemed that the changes were here to stay.

I watched as the company blew up and I noticed the line in a lot of major retailers. I commend Lisa for the expansion and her rise to the top of the natural hair retail chain. I appreciate that she still owns Carol’s Daughter. But what I really wish is that the brand would go back to its roots by embracing the ideals that this former customer loved: pure and natural ingredients, personable care, and the intimacy of that cozy little shop on South Elliot Place.