Black Bottom Digital ArchiveHistorical MapHistorical FiguresHistorical SitesOral HistoriesAboutMenu

Bee-Dew Laboratories

Madam Vivian Smith Nash was a pioneer in the beauty industry and a champion of her students.  As someone who wanted to highlight the natural beauty of Black community, she founded Bee-Dew Beauty Laboratories (originally named Luxuro Beauty School) in 1933, followed by the Bee-Dew Beauty College and Bee-Dew Beauty Shop.  Her college was noted to have “the largest enrollment of its kind” in the state of Michigan (Baltimore Afro-American, 19) until her retirement in 1968. It served hundreds African American students in beauty training and ensured their education was affordable and a success.  Nash often accompanied her students at events where they received accolades for their skill in cosmetology such as the Leo Morris Annual Hair Show in 1942.  Moreover, Nash’s company employed thousands of African Americans, who manufactured over 50 of her products.  Her company was said to have a support base of approximately 150,000 people in and outside of the U.S.  Madam Nash was also a member of the NAACP and the Booker T. Washington Trade Association, in which she received an award for “Most Oustanding Businesswoman” in 1940 (Ibid., 23).

Tags

View more historical sites