A $10 investment made in 1957 turned into a multimillion-dollar cosmetics company 40 years later for Joe L. Dudley Sr. and his wife, Eunice.
Now, the company they started, Dudley Products, Inc., manufactures more than 400 hair-care and cosmetics products, operates a hotel and conference center, manages a travel company and runs a university for training future cosmetologists…the Dudley way, of course.
Dudley started making his mark in the cosmetics industry after investing $10 in a Fuller Products sales kit in 1957 and selling door to door in Brooklyn. In 1960, he met Eunice Mosley, who was selling Fuller products to earn money for college tuition. They married in 1961 and, the following year, decided to make their careers full time with Fuller Products.
Working with S.B. Fuller, a giant among African-American entrepreneurs, the Dudleys opened a Fuller Products distributorship in Greensboro, N.C., in 1967. Their client base eventually grew to the point that Fuller was unable to supply them with all the products they needed for their customers. The need to keep up with demand sparked a venture into manufacturing their own products.
The couple eventually purchased the rights to Rosebud products and began selling Rosebud Hair Pomade under the Dudley’s Scalp Special name. Working on a shoestring budget, the couple had to put their product in used containers that they washed and sanitized for reuse.By 1976, the company had a sales force of 400, and had grown to include the Dudley Beauty School and a chain of beauty supply stores throughout the Southeast. That same year, Fuller asked the pair to join him in running Fuller Products in Chicago. They accepted, and Joe Dudley was appointed president while Eunice Dudley assumed a significant role in the administrative and manufacturing areas.
Although their major focus was the rebuilding of Fuller Products, the Dudleys continued operating their cosmetics company. In 1984, they returned to Greensboro to concentrate on rebuilding their business, and in 1986 the company opened a 37,000 square-foot corporate headquarters and manufacturing facility. Here they developed top-of-the-line hair-care and personal products that were sold primarily to cosmetologists and barbers – using the company’s motto: “In Partnership with the Professional Cosmetologist.”
Purchasing manager Valarie Jackson comments that Dudley Products now is “broadening its horizons” by investing a significant effort into the cosmetics market by offering a complete line of personal-care, skin-care and glamour products such as foundations, blushers and eye shadows. Among its newest products are “lipsicles” – lipstick in a pot in different fragrances, including berries, chocolates and cherries. A special gift package of body splash, body lotion and body gel was made available for the holiday gift-giving season.
Dudley Products also offers customers a convenient and elegant travel tote filled with hair-care products. The tote – a silver travel bag with a drawstring closure – is made of a heavy, iridescent chiffon-type fabric and is lined with heavy plastic to protect the bag from spills. The tote contains moisturizing shampoo, moisturizing conditioner, styling foam and a copy of Dudley Products’ retail brochure. This package is another example of how the company seeks to win customers through designing specialized gift packages that emphasize variety, look and style.
More Than Cosmetics
Dudley Products is nothing if not a multifaceted corporation founded not only to further the beauty industry, but also to foster community involvement and help others achieve their goals. Eunice Dudley says, “Education of our employees and our customers have always been important to us because, as educated consumers, they will always make the right choice. And I believe that Dudley is the right choice.”
To help develop qualified personnel for the cosmetology industry, Dudley Cosmetology University (DCU) was launched in Kernersville, N.C., in 1989. The university offers a general cosmetology program and advanced training courses for licensed professionals.
The only university of its kind in the world, DCU helps cosmetologists earn more money by improving their attitude, self-esteem and skills while they learn from other people and cultures. DCU offers several classes of continuing education, and courses include its famous Salon Training Enhancement Program (STEP), salon- ready hair cutting, styling, coloring, makeup artistry and salon management.
Travelers can also visit The Dudley Inn & Conference Center, situated on 44 picturesque acres and located within minutes of North Carolina’s three largest cities – High Point, Greensboro and Winston-Salem. The site provides an ideal atmosphere for an important business or social event and can accommodate groups of 10 to 1,000. The Dudley Inn & Conference Center offers spacious guestrooms, flexible meeting space and full food and beverage service for meetings and events.
Anoher enterprise, Dudley’s Travel Agency, is a full-service agency that has been operating for approximately eight years but offers clients a total of 50 years’ experience through its qualified agents. The agency can arrange all business travel needs, including airline tickets, auto, hotel, Amtrak, cruise and vacation reservations. Dudley’s Travel Agency works with all airlines and tour companies representing destinations around the world. The agency has a proven record of accommodating specific corporate needs, while saving clients time and money. The experienced staff arranges both domestic and international travel. The services offered by the travel agency may be similar to other travel agencies, but customers find that the extra attention from its agents is what makes Dudley Travel different.
Time and Commitment
According to Joe Dudley, building an empire is as simple as making a $10 investment, but the will to succeed has got to be as important as the financial backing. And at Dudley Products, the message is simple: Its university will give anyone willing to learn the tools to grow and become financially successful.
“Trust me, you can build your wealth. You can become financially independent,” the entrepreneur states. “The way to manage your business and secure your financial future is to begin planning now. We want to help our clients manage and grow their business, and we have access to the finest instructors to share the keys to success in the new millenium. These people are living what they teach. They are, indeed, walking the walk and talking the talk.”
The Dudley way, of course.