Joe Dudley & Eunice Dudley
Eunice and Joe Dudley exemplify loyalty, perseverance, and determination.
Born in Selma, AL, Eunice Dudley has always had a strong desire to learn. After graduating from high school, she enrolled in Talladega College in Talladega, AL, to pursue a psychology degree. She spent her summers in Brooklyn, NY, with her aunt.
Joe Dudley was born in Aurora, NC, where his elementary school labeled him as mentally retarded, a stigma that followed him for years. After his high school sweetheart ended their relationship because of his reputation for being slow, he made the life-changing decision to dedicate his life to proving them wrong.
“You have to struggle for anything worthwhile,” he says. “The rougher it is, the better it will be if you hang on and don’t quit. Don’t ever quit. You never give up. You keep right on and you keep saying ‘I am, I can, and I will.’ And if you keep doing that it will happen to you, and that is the key. Never quit. Never give up.”
The couple met in Brooklyn, where they were both selling beauty products door-to-door for the Fuller Products Company during the early 1960s. After several years, Joe accepted an offer to run the company’s sales branch in Chicago, IL.
“Back in the 1950s and 1960s, it was kind of a rule to work with and for a black organization,” Eunice said. “The mission was to keep black businesses alive. And to keep the businesses in a manner in which they can be left to your children. Family members can come and work for the organizations and help build them. There were a lot of close knit family members working for Fuller, and we wanted to see the legacy survive.”
Around the time that Eunice and Joe began working in Chicago, Fuller Products experienced financial difficulties. While they remained with the company, they decided to create their own line of beauty products. They moved to Greensboro, NC, and began making beauty products from their home.
Consistent sales growth fueled the purchase of some small businesses in Virginia and the expansion of their product line, as well as improvements to the manufacturing process and the product line.
Today, as DudleyQ, the company is one of the most well-known in the beauty products industry. The DudleyQ salons are currently located in Burlington, NC; Greensboro, NC; Richmond, Va.; and Washington, D.C., and the beauty schools are located in Chicago, IL; Greensboro, NC; and Washington, DC.
The company that Eunice and Joe created continues to reflect the corporate culture they found at Fuller long ago. Many DudleyQ employees have been with the company for over 40 years. And the business remains family-led, with Eunice and Joe’s daughter, Ursula Dudley Oglesby, now serving as president.
Although not involved in day-to-day operations of the company, Eunice continues to teach and inspire at the Dudley Beauty Colleges. And Joe continues to inspire others to strive for success with his book, I Am, I Can, I Will: Walking by Faith, which challenges readers to change their attitudes toward life in order to succeed and make a difference in the world.
Both have earned numerous awards and national recognitions for their successes.
In 1991, Bennett College awarded Eunice an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree for being a role model for young women. She has also won the Long Leaf Pine Award from the state of North Carolina, the Athena Award from the Greensboro Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Crystal Award and the Ollie Chinn Porter Award from the National Association of Negro Business & Professional Women’s Club, Inc. She serves the community by contributing to many programs, including the Direct Selling Education Board and the United Negro College Fund.
Joe is a recipient of the Vision For Tomorrow Award from the Direct Selling Association (DSA), the 467th Point of Light Award from President George Bush, and the Maya Angelou Tribute To Achievement Award, in addition to Inc. Magazine’s North Carolina Master Entrepreneur Award and the 2005 Trumpet Award. He has received five honorary doctorate degrees and been elected to The Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans. He is a member of the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame (Business/Industry) and the DSA Hall of Fame.
Through all of their accomplishments and years of business success, Eunice and Joe strongly encourage life-long educational aspirations and goals.
“You do not have to stop learning just because you get old,” she said. “You decide your own goal.”
Author: Raquel Kelly