Get Inspired/ How She Does It
Kristin Booker • November 10, 2014

How She Does It: Lisa Price of Carol’s Daughter

I remember years ago sitting on my couch watching Oprah (I was home sick that day, I swear I’m not a professional couch sitter) and watching Halle Berry talking about a new product discovery she had shared with Oprah, a product line from Brooklyn called Carol’s Daughter. I was miles away in North Carolina but I was intrigued by the story of these nourishing products created in a one-bedroom apartment by a woman named Lisa Price. After moving to New York in 2007, I sought the brand out and eventually got a chance to meet the powerhouse behind the brand. Lisa is warm, funny, and a force of nature. I admire her quite a bit, and recently got a chance to interview her.

She’s a mother, a wife, and at the helm of one of the most beloved brand for women across the country and the globe. From founding her brand from her apartment to caring for herself and a little about that big news story involving her company, I’m pleased to present Lisa in her own words. Shot in her TriBeCa office at Carol’s Daughter headquarters, this is how Lisa Price does it all:

Photo: Kristin Booker.

Photo: Kristin Booker.

 

On founding Carol’s Daughter

“I guess you would have to say the origin of everything was fragrance, because it all started with my hobby of making fragrances. I’m still a person who is deeply in love with fragrance. I own way too many for a person who makes them. I’m kind of like a shoe designer who has everybody else’s shoes along with the shoes that they make. But fragrance is soothing to me, like meditation.

Fragrance is how the products come to life. Sometimes, I’ll smell something and it will evoke a color in my mind or a product. For instance, I’ll smell something with a watery-floral note and think it should be a shampoo, like you’re standing underneath a waterfall in a beautiful location. A lot of things start with fragrance but won’t necessarily end there. Something with a “clean” note will inspire the type of product it becomes, like a clean scalp or the notion of clean hair, which turns it into a shampoo or a cleanser. Something luscious becomes a moisturizer. I pair the ingredients to tell that story. The original focus of the brand started with fragrance and then moved into body products, which is before the hair products became as big as they are today.”

 

Photo: Kristin Booker.

Photo: Kristin Booker.

On what developing groundbreaking hair products revealed about her own hair

“In the very beginning, hair evolved from customer request. I would be at a flea market with body butters and someone would ask me what I had for hair, and since I didn’t have anything at the time, they would just walk away. As I developed the hair products for the company, I realized that I had just decided to settle when it came to taking care of my own hair. I used to just braid and twist my hair a lot, but hadn’t worn it out curly as I do now because I didn’t have products to properly manage and nourish it. I would have some good hair days but mostly not-so-great hair days because I didn’t have the means to really take care of my curls.

As I developed these products and started to create things that were really designed to nourish and care for natural and curly hair, it made me realized how underserved and resigned women with natural and curly had been until that point. I realized you could make a shampoo that would cleanse hair without it feeling like old cassette recording tape, that plastic-y, over-stripped feeling. It was nice to create products that would actually work. With Hair Milk, I finally had a moisturizing product that could nourish my curly hair without weighing it down. That product took a lot of trials because I needed something that would moisturize my hair but would nourish the fine texture. It needed to hydrate but not add heft. “

 

On building a powerhouse brand from her apartment

“I have been very busy and I must say that the hard work was all very well worth it.  We are about to close on a great deal with L’Oreal USA and will become a part of the largest beauty company in the world.  Not too shabby for a woman who started to make products in the kitchen of a one-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn.”

Photo: Kristin Booker

Photo: Kristin Booker

 

A little more about that big L’Oreal announcement

“Honestly, there have not really been any changes.  I am still Carol’s Daughter.  My offices and team are completely intact.  We will all operate as we always have out of TriBeCa, but going forward we will have access to resources, knowledge, expertise that we have not had previously.”

 

On dealing with adversity during times of stress and change

“I must admit in the very early days of the announcement, I did let the naysayers get to me. I wanted to talk to each person and assure them that things were really okay, that they didn’t have to be sad or angry or even feel badly for me.  But, of course that can’t be done, so I had to move on and chose to take a new outlook on it:  I am very flattered and honored to have people so invested in me and my brand that an announcement such as this would cause them to either exclaim their joy for me or share their disdain.  I understand why some of them are sad, but I do have to live my life and I have to do what I feel is best for this brand that I have built for the past 21 years, which may not be in agreement with everyone else. That is okay.  Like I have said before, I am still me and I am not going anywhere, and I intend to be around for a long time.  I think once people have had time to see that things won’t change they’ll come around, but either way, I am about doing the work I was put on this earth to do. “

 

On her typical (um, atypical) daily routine

“Every day is incredibly busy because I have the business, a husband and three children along with ancillary people in my life and a LOT of travel. Sometimes, I have a week where I don’t have to travel and it’s incredibly cool, but usually I’m juggling packing and unpacking and what my kids will be doing while I’m gone.”

 

Photo: Kristin Booker

Photo: Kristin Booker

On her beauty routine

“I moisturize a LOT because I have dry skin, always have. I try to hydrate even more now because I’m older, and I use a lot of eye cream. I wish I made eye cream but I haven’t figured out how to do that yet. I can make great moisturizers, but formulations that take care of puffiness and dark circles are different and require more scientific research. But I apply one eye cream every morning and another one at night. I don’t mind being 52, but I don’t necessarily want to look like I’m my age.”

 

On some of her favorite Carol’s Daughter products

“I can’t live without Hair Milk, for sure, and I love my Monoi products, especially the Monoi Repairing Hair Mask and the Anti-Breakage Spray, which I spray every day even when my hair is in twists. It’s great to hydrate the scalp, and I can smooth it over my hair without the risk of buildup like you can get with some pomades. I also love Cleansing Gel because it’s so versatile; I can add a bit of salt or sugar and turn it into a body scrub, I use it to remove makeup, etc.”

 

Photo: Kristin Booker

Photo: Kristin Booker

Oh yes, about that whole aging thing…

“It’s weird to say it. I’ve never been one of those people who are afraid to say their age or lie about it, but it sounds so much older than I actually feel. When you’re younger, you heard people say they were the age you are now and you saw them as mature, settled and getting ready for retirement. I’m not any of those things. “

 

On taking care of herself

“Even though I may feel younger, I realize that my age brings to mind certain health factors that statistically I know I can expect some unpleasant things to happen in a few years if I don’t take care of myself. So, this was the year I decided to become vegan in March. I made the transition between then and my birthday in May. I don’t know if I’ll stay that way for the rest of my life, but my thinking was I’m pretty good with my eating habits generally speaking, but sweets are my weakness. So, when I became vegan, I realized I can still have dessert, but it’s denser so I’ll eat less of it. I’ve lost weight some going vegan, which wasn’t the intention but it’s been a nice side effect, but I’m happy to just feel physically “lighter.” I feel like I have more energy despite being really, really busy. It feels right. “

In 2009, I had Lap Band surgery for my health and lost 97 lbs., so I’m still not a skinny person, but I am a much healthier one. I’m still happy I made that choice. It was more difficult than I thought it would be because the common perception out there is that the pounds just drop off, but in reality it takes a lot of discipline to make it work. It was a good character-building exercise. I had to stop eating certain things because they were just too difficult to eat and digest, like egg sandwiches on bagels. After five years of not eating bagels, I don’t miss them anymore. It was interesting to go through the process of not eating things that weren’t necessarily the best for me sort of go away. “

 

On being comfortable in her wardrobe

“Fashion really depends on what I’m doing, but I love knits and comfortable clothes. I’ll deal with an item of clothing that’s more rigid if I know I can get out of it and don’t have to be in it for three hours. If I could live on an island somewhere I’d live in Indian tunics, harem pants, sundresses and bare feet. I love Calypso St. Barth for those items. I love Michael Kors and Donna Karan. What that woman does with a sweater? Oh my goodness. I’m also a big fan of H&M; it adds youthfulness to my wardrobe.”

 

On feeling her most beautiful

“I feel my most beautiful when I’m in the sun at the ocean. I know you’re not supposed to tan and I do wear sunscreen, but I love when my skin is sun-kissed. As dark as I can get, I just love it. When I get near the water, I exhale and feel at peace.”

 

Photo: Kristin Booker

Photo: Kristin Booker

On finding time to escape

“I love movies. I once escaped to a movie theatre and saw three movies in one day by myself; I have no problem going to movies alone. I just hopped from theatre to theatre because I hadn’t been to the movies in so long and there were all these things I wanted to see. I also love having Netflix where I can watch anything at any time. I really like old movies, like musicals and Hitchcock films. I also like to crochet and I like to cook, even though I don’t cook a lot. I cook more on vacation than I do all year because it’s a challenge to work, travel AND cook. When I have to work, my husband picks up more of the slack and cooks more or we work in tandem to make meals throughout the week. But when I’m on vacation, I don’t mind cooking.”

 

On redefining balance

“I’ve had to redefine that for myself. I used to think it meant balancing out the day to get everything done, but I’ve realized that doesn’t work, that I’m not going to get everything done, and that’s okay. I try to prioritize, because if you don’t you feel like you’ve failed every single day because you didn’t get everything done when in fact it could just be that you’ve got too much to do. So, I don’t worry if I got it ALL done, I worry that I got the important things are handled.”

 

On accepting yourself as you are

“No matter what’s going on with the outside, if you’re not happy and peaceful on the inside you’ll never see it. So, you could have the most beautiful head of hair — whatever that means for you — and still not feel beautiful. I think you have to tell yourself that you are if you’ve not started to believe that about yourself. When I was much heavier before the surgery, I had to do photo shoots and TV and I had to get really comfortable with where I was physically even though I wasn’t really there yet. I would look in the mirror and tell myself I was beautiful. I remember it being very, very hard. I remember just bawling in front of the mirror. So, it’s not easy, but it’s necessary. If you don’t accept yourself where you are, you’ll never get better. It’s like people who eat to ease stress: if you don’t solve the problem of why you eat, you’ll just keep eating.”

 

Photo: Kristin Booker

Photo: Kristin Booker

On what makes her happy

“Family brings my joy, as in my work and home families. I love that I have people around me who talk to me and support me. I never feel alone. It makes me happy to know that I have people around me who are honest. I cannot stand people who just tell you what you want to hear. Even though the truth might hurt, I’d rather hear the truth every single day than hear a lie. I can’t stand lying at all, and I feel fortunate that I have honest people around me.”

 

Photo: Kristin Booker

Photo: Kristin Booker

On how to nourish yourself, especially during times of change

“I think the most important thing to remember is that you cannot please everyone.  Your choices must be yours to make and with which you must live.  That is all that should matter.  For me, I pray and seek guidance from something outside myself, and when I am at peace with a choice, that is it. It shall be done. “

 

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2 Responses to How She Does It: Lisa Price of Carol’s Daughter

  1. Nicole says:

    One of my favorite brands and written by my favorite blogger! Thanks for a great article.

  2. Fatmata says:

    Love Carol’s Daughter. I use her products on my daughter’s hair. Great article.

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