This photo of Faulk Bros. Drug Store, located at the corner of Connally Street and the Downtown
Square, in Sulphur Springs, brought back many memories for those of us who remember O.J.'s
Beauty Lotion being sold in Sulphur Springs, and the sign here and on the Faulks Drug Store
at the corner of Gilmer and the square.
O.J.'s Beauty Lotion......
A Hopkins County Potion!
by: Bobby McDonald
Editor's note: The following story is a reprint from my second volume of Hopkins County Stories, entitled "Plowin' Deep."
With the prosepcts of the new twentieth century in its infancy, Sulphur Springs native and Cumby Pharmacist, O.J. Parham, had opened business in the small town, in the western edge of the county. Parham was the son of Mr. & Mrs. James Parham of Sulphur Springs and saw the opportunity to begin his pharmacy practice in the growing town of Cumby, formerly known at Black Jack Grove. However, it was the pretty young lady from neighboring Campbell that inspired him to develop his famous potion.
It seems that Mr. Parham began dating Miss Minnie Craig from Campbell and Miss Craig experienced skin problems. Self-conscious about her condition, Minnie sought relief from a doctor in Dallas, to clear her skin for the wedding in 1902. The treatment was successful and the young couple experienced a beautiful wedding; however, soon thereafter, the skin problems once again plagued Miss Minnie.
With a store full of various compounds and remedies, young O. J. Parham began mixing potions that he knew to be effective as skin products and using his young wife as "the guinea pig" for his mixtures, the young druggist developed a crystal clear lotion that served as a skin cleanser to tighten the pores of the skin and serve as an astringent. Minnie began using the mixture and saw remarkable results for her condition.
Friends, neighbors, and clients fo the durgstore saw the "first-hand" results of Minnie's miraculous complexion recovery and began requesting some of the product for themselves. Minnie encouraged her husband to market the product from his pharmacy in Cumby. In 1903, O.J.'s Beauty Lotion was born in the back room of the small Cumby pharmacy.
Parham continued the production of the product and even offered a sales agreement with some young ladies in Cumby to sell the skin care potion on commissions. They sold the beauty aid for 50 cents a bottle, door to door, and split the profits with Parham. What better way to sell a product than to have satisfied customers giving personal testimonies? Parham had happend upon a successful marketing campaign.
Soon after mixing the potion, young Parham was offered a position in Shreveport, Louisiana, as a manager of a larger pharmacy. He accepted the position and moved his business and family some 150 miles southeast. He continued to make O.J.'s Beauty Lotion and market the product from his new city of residence, but always had a ready supply for the folks back in Hopkins County. The popularity of the product continued to increase and facilities were built in Shreveport to commercially produce the famous beauty cleanser.
Women everywhere began using O.J.'S Beauty Lotion and found the "hot pink" labels of the company a necessity in their beauty cleansing care. The company grew and continued to produce more and more of the product each year, until the sale of the product in 1984 to a North Carolina pharmaceutical company.
Both O.J. and Minnie Parham lived the remainder of their lives in Shreveport, but were frequent visitiors back to Hopkins County to visit family and friends. Parham's sister, Mrs. Willie Markham, and his parents, continued to live in Sulphur Springs.
Many of you will remember the large painted sign on the west side of Faulk's Drug Store, in Sulphur Springs, that advertised the beauty care product. The ties to Sulphur Springs and Hopkins County remained strong for both the Parham family and their O.J.'s Beauty Lotion formula.
Mrs. Sybil Parham Barnette, daughter of O.J. and Minnie Parham, continued the family business until it was sold to the North Carolina company. For over eighty years, the potion that was inspired by the love O.J.'s life, helped to make the lives of women more wonderful and served to mark Cumby, Texas, as the birthplace of the famous product.
Parham died June 16, 1955, but his wife, daughter and family continued to manage the business and factory. In 1964 when Mrs. Minnie Parham died, the business stayed in the capable hands of her family. On Aug. 1, 1984, OJ's was;liquidated and its assets sold to Goody's Manufacturing Corp. A collection consisting of the correspondence, advertising, photos, and memorabilia of this well-known Shreveport company, is housed in the Shreveport Museum.
One of the earlier bottles and box are shown at left, and at right
is a marketing technique that O.J's used to promote their product
on church fans, that were used before air conditioning was common.