Eunice Carruthers

Women of Achievement
1986

INITIATIVE
for a woman who seized the
opportunity to use her talents and created her own future:

Eunice Carruthers

As one of the 12 children in her family in Arlington, Tennessee, Eunice Carruthers made hats for dolls and decorated her own head with bows, flowers and ribbons. She carried that childhood interest into her adult life and began her career as hat maker when she made her own first hat to wear to church. Friends were so impressed that soon she was receiving calls for the handmade hats, and Unis Originals came into begin.

From working nights and weekends at home, she went on to enter a partnership — Carsala’s Boutique — and then went into business on her own with Unis of Memphis in 1965. Business was so good that Unis expanded to a new location in 1970.

But hats were not the only business of Eunice Carruthers. In 1955 she graduated from LeMoyne College and began a demanding, distinguished career in the education of handicapped children — including teaching, instructor evaluation and vocational placement.

Eunice retired from her teaching career, but still continues with her first love, the making of hats. Her life exemplifies her belief that “no black woman who has ever dared to dream great dreams, and who was willing to pay the price, will fail to realize that dream.”

Eunice is chairperson of the National Organ Transplant Fund and still sells designer hats but no longer creates them.