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Sun, 05.09.1937

Joe Dudley, Entrepreneur born.

Joe Dudley

*Joe Dudley was born on this date in 1937. He was a Black businessman and hair-care entrepreneur.

Joe Louis Dudley Sr. was born in Aurora, North Carolina, the fifth of 11 children. When he was in the first grade, he was mistakenly labeled as mentally retarded because of a speech impediment. He had twice been held back when he reached the eleventh grade. However, Dudley persevered in his education, eventually gaining a Bachelor of Science 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 and began selling hair care products door-to-door in Black neighborhoods. In 1960, he met Eunice Mosley, who sold Fuller products door-to-door. 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 line under the Dudley Products label.

Unlike many hair and skin care providers, Dudley marketed his product line directly to salons rather than 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's 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 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 Black-owned companies manufacturing hair products for the African American community. Joe Dudley, president of Dudley Products Inc., died on February 8, 2024, at 86.


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