Simone Luster And Family Carry Luster Products Into A New Generation
Written by Vocalo Radio on February 28, 2023
Simone Luster is part of a new generation of Luster Products — the internationally-successful, Black-owned, family-rooted hair care manufacturer based in Chicago. She stopped by the Vocalo studios to sit down with morning host Bekoe and WBEZ’s Taylor Nazon to discuss carrying on her grandfather’s founding vision.
Known today as the world’s leading African American-owned personal care manufacturer, and creators of the Black-famous Pink Oil Lotion product line, Luster Products started as the dream of Chicago barber Fred Luster, Sr. Motivated to develop hair care products for his clientele, Luster, Sr. at first only sold the products out of his barber shop — but as popularity and demand increased, he established Luster Products Inc. in 1957.
In the nearly 70 years since its founding, Luster Products has found consistent success in the natural hair care market and has employed hundreds internationally — including members of three Luster family generations.
Simone Luster, the granddaughter of Fred Luster, Sr., is Luster Products’ e-commerce manager. Essentially involved in the business their entire lives, Simone, her father, aunt, uncle, brother, sister and two cousins all feel drawn to keep the company’s legacy alive.
“It’s something we all naturally grew into, it was not pressured for us to get into the business,” Simone explained. “It was more so that… for us, we were familiar as well as we wanted to take it on for the next generation, and we wanted to keep it going.”
(Left) Simone Luster in the Vocalo studios on Feb. 23. Photo by Rakim Winfert for Vocalo. (Right) The Luster family, photo courtesy of Simone Luster.
In addition to catering to the unique hair care needs of the Black community, Luster Products engages in local activism, establishing in 1989 the Luster Products Foundation to support Chicago-based community organizations. They’ve also donated wigs to the American Cancer Society and, with help from Pastor Tracey G. Lee, started the Warmest Warming Center for Chicagoans struggling with homelessness.
Simone notes Fred Luster, Sr. always made a point to invest in and give back to the community, a value he not only instilled in the company, but in the Luster family.
“We have a great thing going here, and we want to be able to keep it going for the next generation — and also for the community,” she said.
Stopping by the Vocalo studios, Simone Luster sat down with morning host Bekoe and WBEZ’s Taylor Nazon to discuss how she got involved in the family business. She also elaborated on how they’ve adapted over the years to connect with 21st Century consumers, the importance of keeping the company around for future generations and how Luster Products stays true to its heart: to serve quality natural hair care products to the Black community.
Interview hosted by Bekoe and Taylor Nazon
Audio editing and production by Bekoe
Photography and videography by Rakim Winfert
Video editing by Bekoe
Introduction written by Morgan Ciocca
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