I was born in Ryan, Oklahoma in 1919 and attended Union High School, where I was valedictorian for the graduating class of 1937. During World War II, times were tough. In 1944, I was able to save enough money to buy a "ringer" washing machine and took in laundry from neighbors each evening. Soon after, I was able to build my savings into $300 and I wanted to go into business for myself. I had always been interested in the cosmetics business and had become familiar with Merle Norman Cosmetics Products. However, a franchise cost $1000.
I was able to talk to Merle Norman's son into selling me a franchise for $300 - but I was told I'd have to attend training in California and pay the balance later. So, I bought a one-way bus ticket to Los Angeles for $15, a loaf of bread, and some bologna then made my way westward. Once in Los Angeles, I stayed in a local YWCA, which was all my budget would allow.
While in training, I received my first order of products. I literally went out on the streets of Los Angeles, and sold my first orders to folks that I met. I was able to complete my obligation to pay my full franchise fee of $1000 and order more products. When our training was completed, I got back on the bus and headed back home to open my first studio. I was in business!
Then in 1950, I wanted to expand my interest and opened Hennessee Family Center, which later became the largest salon in the area!
After many years of experience using various product lines, I eventually decided that I wanted a better product then was available on the market. I wrote to various chemical companies, spent a great deal of time in the local library and taught myself chemistry and mixing. A little kitchen in Hennessee Family Center served as my "lab," and the shop was its customers - my testing salon. Years of testing and experimentation followed. I'm proud to say that we have never once used laboratory animals in our testing. In 1973, against all odds and the advice of friends and so-called "experts," we incorporated and went in debt up to our "eye teeth" and opened Cosmetic Specialty Labs.
Folks say I'm a "pioneer in the cosmetics and Aloe Vera industries. I don't know how much stock to put into that -"I just know the stuff works." I've used it more than 50 years, we've had a wonderful time and have made literally tens-of- thousands of friends along the way.
"I don't have to I get to."