Her Pioneering Salon Gave Black Beauty Top Priority

Hair stylist at work
via Flickr
Brooke Brown
February 11, 2020

Harlem hairstylist Rose Morgan experienced firsthand the degradation and mistreatment white beauty industry professionals gave Black women in the 1940s. But she would NOT tolerate it for long.

For six months she made sure Harlem women knew who to call, and word traveled fast that an alternative had been found.

She took her clients, partnered with a staff of 29 other beauticians, skincare experts, masseurs, and even a registered nurse, and opened the “biggest [Black] beauty parlor in the world,” according to Ebony magazine. 

Rose Meta House of Beauty was the product of its owners, vendors, and service providers’ investment into the self-esteem of Black women - and its thoughtful care stunned every woman who entered its doors.

In her “house,” Black women were granted the respect and value only white women usually received from shop owners. Their physical, emotional, and social comfort and privacy was paramount. Such care paid off fast!

Within its first year, Rose Meta HOB generated more than $3 million in sales and expanded to host dress makers, a wig salon, spa, and charm school. By the 1960s it employed nearly 3,000 employees.

Following in the pioneering footsteps of beauty mogul Madame CJ Walker, Morgan’s esteem for pampering Black women set the precedent for legendary brands like Ebony Fashion Fair and others to follow.

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