By Shelly Bradbury
Chattanooga Times Free Press, Tenn.
Lisa Price turned a few homemade batches of lotion into a multimillion dollar beauty company that pulls in an estimated $40 million in revenue annually — but she still feels like a young entrepreneur.
And that’s precisely why she agreed to visit Chattanooga on March 26 to speak at the Urban League of Greater Chattanooga’s second annual Entrepreneur Power Luncheon.
“It’s the type of event where entrepreneurs are there who are young entrepreneurs,” she said. “I remember being a young entrepreneur. I feel like I still am one.”
The founder of Carol’s Daughter, a beauty company that now makes products ranging from hair creams to fragrances, hopes to pass on advice to people who are starting like she did: with almost nothing. Price sold her first few batches of lotion at a flea market about 24 years ago, then expanded into her living room and eventually set up her first retail shop.
Now the company employs 75 people, operates seven retail shops and sells products in national retailers like J.C.Penney and Macy’s. Through it all, Price has learned to mute both her successes and failures.
“I tend to live in the normal,” she said. “I have found in interacting with different business people, sometimes they get too caught up in the down period, and it makes it harder for them to weather. On the flip side, there are some people who celebrate too much when things are great. So when it starts to get normal, normal is perceived as difficult and tough. You have to accept that there are ebbs and flows.”
Price will be the featured speaker at the Urban League’s second annual entrepreneur luncheon this year, and is planning to cover topics in a casual interview format on stage, she said. Last year, the event featured fashion mogul Daymond John, a star of ABC’s hit TV show Shark Tank.
The Urban League expects between 600 and 800 people to attend this year’s luncheon at the Chattanooga Convention Center. The event is a fundraiser for the Urban League’s Entrepreneur Center, league president Warren Logan said. The goal is to inspire minorities and women to start or grow businesses, he added.
“Small businesses are the heartbeat of America,” he said. “We bring these people in as role models to talk about their stories. You never know who they’re inspiring. Hopefully someone will do what they did or more.”