GLENCOE, Ill. - Bernice Lavin, who co-founded the beauty products business Alberto-Culver Co. with her husband, died Monday after a long illness, company officials said. She was 81.
In 1955, Mrs. Lavin and her husband, Leonard, a salesman, purchased a West Coast beauty supply company, discontinuing most of its products to focus on the Alberto V05 Conditioning Hairdressing line.
They transferred the business to Chicago and renamed it Alberto-Culver. With the help of a handful of employees, the company had sales of $100,000 in the first year.
Today, the publicly traded company is based in the Chicago suburb of Melrose Park and makes TRESemme, Alberto VO5, and Nexxus hair products, as well as the St. Ives skin care line.
Mrs. Lavin also was an active philanthropist. A child care center bears her name at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.