Ernie started his illustrious hairstyling career at the young age of 14, cutting his friends' and neighbors' hair in his bedroom for .25 cents a head. To hone his early skills, he started practicing on his brother William (Chap), who was seven years younger. By the time he went through this trial & error with his brother, he was now experienced enough to charge more for his skills. Ernie attended McCoy Barber College and Dunbar School of Cosmetology simultaneously, spitting the hours of each day between both schools. In addition to school, he worked as a part-time barber in Irby's Barber Shop in Altgeld Gardens. Between 1967 and 1969, he became a licensed cosmetologist, barber, and instructor in both fields. After working in Irby's Barber Shop for only 3 years, Ernie then purchased the barbershop from Mr. Irby.
In that same barbershop is where Ernie started experimenting with various hair growth ingredients to create his very own product line. This line became so successful that his customers began requesting his product in local stores. Customers asking for his product line became so popular that it led the ethnic buyer for Walgreens to reach out to Ernie personally. In addition to that, local beauty supply stores also contacted him to inquire about carrying his product line in their stores.
Life & Legacy of Ernest Daurham Jr.
The Early Years
Ernest Daurham Jr. graced this earth with his presence on July 7, 1946. His entrance into this world was truly a blessing, being the second child and first male child born to Ernest Sr. and Ersaline Daurham.
Family and close friends call him "Ernie." His mom had a special name, she called him "Sig." He was also affectionately known as "Mr. D" by his employees.
Ernie was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, and at a very early age, the family relocated to Chicago, Illinois. His formal education was in the Chicago Public School system, which included graduating from Carver High School and Dunbar School of Cosmetology. He was reared in Altgeld Gardens on the far south side of Chicago. He excelled above and beyond what others would wonder, "Can any good thing come from public housing?" Ernie proved to the world that "Yes, it can happen!"
Guided by a strong belief in God, family values, and a heart of compassion for mankind, Ernie committed his life to Christ and to the vision God placed in him. Ernie was and will continue to be a Spiritual guide used by God on his next assignment in the Spirit realm. The word of God that Ernie shared with many still resonates at this very moment.
Road to Success
By 1979, Ernie was so busy making hair care products to keep up with the demand from the stores that he didn't have time to style or cut hair anymore. By 1980, Ernie established D-orum Hair Products, Inc. to address the unique hair care needs of the African American community. In 1982, he created the first no rod curl kit called the "Chicago Curl Kit"' and by 1984 made his first Million Dollars. In 1985, Ernie created Leisure Curl, "The look of a Relaxer, with the maintenance of a Curl."
This vision and its product line took the market by storm! It became the company's flagship brand, and by 1986, Leisure Curl grossed 8 Million Dollars in sales, followed by 16 Million in 1987 and 20 Million in both 1989 & 1990. Financial success, although welcomed, was never the motivating factor in Ernie's journey towards success. He looked back with pride on the family and community that made him strong, and believing sincerely that he was blessed, Ernie used his personal and professional resources to reach back and help others!
Road to Success
In 1991, to formalize his philanthropic endeavors, he established the "Ernest Daurham Jr. Community Foundation" to support community, social, educational, and employment opportunities within the African American community. In 1992, he established the Daurham Institute of Hair Technology and provided "FREE" education to cosmetology students. In addition to the school, Ernie opened five beauty salons around the Chicago and Gary, Indiana areas to create job opportunities for his graduating students. In 1994, Ernie sold his Chicago Mansion, "The Castle of Olympia Fields," to a famous R&B singer and retired to Scottsdale, Arizona. In his retirement, he established his Teaching and Prosperity Ministries, where he continued his life's purpose by leading others to Christ and transforming lives.
The Daurham Corporation addressed the hair care needs of people of all nationalities and hair textures. Guided by a family with a strong sense of values and a belief in God, Ernest Daurham Jr. committed his life to the success he has so deservingly achieved as Founder, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer of the company that bears his name.