Joe Louis Dudley, Sr. (born May 9, 1937) is an American businessman and hair care entrepreneur. He is the president and chief executive officer for Dudley Products Inc., a manufacturer and distributor of hair and skin care products for the African American community.
Life and career
Dudley was born in Aurora, North Carolina, the fifth of 11 children. When he was in the first grade, he was mistakenly labeled as being mentally retarded because of a speech impediment. He was twice held back by the time he reached the eleventh grade. However, Dudley persevered in his education, eventually gaining a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro, North Carolina.
In 1957, Dudley was living in Brooklyn, New York. He invested $10 in a Fuller Products sales kit in 1957, and began selling hair care products door to door in African American neighborhoods. In 1960 he met Eunice Mosley, who was also selling Fuller products on a door-to-door basis. They married the following year.
The Dudleys settled in Greensboro, where they opened a Fuller distributorship. When there was a shortage of Fuller products in 1969, they began manufacturing and selling their own line under the Dudley Products label. Unlike many hair and skin care providers, Dudley chose to market his product line directly to salons rather than to retailers.
At the request of company founder S.B. Fuller, Dudley moved to Chicago, Illinois, and took over Fuller Products in 1976. They consolidated the company with their operations in 1980, keeping the Dudley Products brand name. Dudley moved the company back to Greensboro in 1984. As of December 2003, with annual revenues of $30 million, the company offers 400 hair and skin care products. It also operates the Dudley Cosmetology University, with locations in North Carolina and two schools in Zimbabwe.
Dudley and his company were featured in Chris Rock's 2009 documentary Good Hair; the company is one of only a handful of African-American-owned companies manufacturing hair products for the African-American community.
- Black Entrepreneur profile Broken Link
- "Grooming for success - management of Dudley Products - Company Profile," Nation's Business, March, 1996
- “Dudley Products Inc. - Hair Today,” U.S. Industry Today, Vol.5, Issue 1
- "Bad Hair Days: African American firms losing control of the ethnic haircare industry" Black Enterprise, November 2000 (library card access required
- “Joe Dudley Sr. Dudley Products,” Fortune Small Business /CNN.com
- Zackarek, Stephani (9 October 2009). "'Good Hair' gives it to us straight, salon.com
- Schuker, Lauren A. E. (23 January 2009). "A Comic's 'Good Hair' Day", The Wall Street Journal.
- Joe L. Dudley biography on dudleyq.com