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Beauty Inc issue 04/22/2011

As Oprah’s personal hairdresser of 25 years, Andre Walker knows a thing or two about styling to perfection. He also knows about what products to use to achieve a certain look, so a venture into the world of manufacturing was a natural extension. Through a mutual friend, Walker met Lea Black, a noted beauty entrepreneur (over the last 30 years, she has developed Lea Brand Cosmetics, Sudden Youth skin care and Jazz Fragrance for men, to name a few) who already had formulated a root touch-up item for her personal use. Walker and Black immediately bonded, and together they developed Andre Walker Hair Care, a line that includes a Keratin Shampoo ($23), Keratin Conditioner ($23) and Q Quench Essential Oil ($35). Hair Make-up ($12), Black’s original item, received some tweaks, and is part of the line, too.

This story first appeared in the April 22, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The oil, Walker says, is the hero product. “That was picked as the superstar from customers,” says Black, who also stars on The Real Housewives of Miami, explaining that it works to de-frizz and condition all hair types, from coarse to fine.The line made its debut in November’s “Favorite Things” episode on HSN and subsequently generated $1 million worth of product sales online in less than 30 days. In December, a show on HSN had sales of $500,000, triple the expectations. Now, Walker and Black are working on a brick-and-mortar distribution deal, which they say will be with a masstige retailer beginning in May when Walker’s duties to Winfrey will end, at least on a daily basis, as her show wraps up.

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