I remember Fashion Fair vividly growing up as a child. My mother had a slew of lipsticks and powdered foundation. My grandmother would dab a little on my face before church – so I could feel like a little lady. Over the years, I’ve never forgotten it but not once did I think a black man owned it.
John H. Johnson founded the Johnson Publishing Co. in 1941. He not only published Black classics like Jet Magazine, but he also created Fashion Fair Cosmetics along with his wife Eunice in 1973. Starting as a small makeup compact, the Johnsons quickly created a full cosmetics line due to high demand. So before Fenty Beauty and other black cosmetics brands, Fashion Fair was the largest black-owned cosmetics business in the world.
John H. Johnson’s efforts also landed him a spot on Forbes 400 Richest American’s in 1982, making him the first Black person to occupy that space. After years of hard work, John passed away in 2005 at 87. As of 2019, the iconic cosmetics brand is owned by its former CEO and former secretary to President Obama, Desiree Rogers and former Ebony Media CEO, Cheryl Mayberry McKissack.
Do you have Fashion Fair Memories? Leave them in the comments!