Harper was not born a Christian Scientist. However, in 1888 just as she was preparing to open her new beauty shop, she collapsed from exhaustion. She was introduced to Mrs. Helen Pine Smith, a newly trained Christian Science Practitioner who studied under Mrs. Mary Baker Eddy. Thereafter, Harper quickly recovered and became a devout Christian Scientist. As Harper learned about Eddy’s strong belief in women, and Eddy’s advocacy for women’s rights and their leadership role in the Christian Science church, Harper was encouraged to pursue her own entrepreneurial dream.
Building on the Christian Science belief in the power of Spirit and its link to good health, Harper translated that concept and incorporated it in her promotions and teachings. Harper’s mantra was “The Harper Method’s job was to bring the inner beauty within everyone out.” She claimed her organic products and “scientific” methods did just that, distinguishing its focus from that of the beauty industry, which promoted “beauty from a jar.”
When faced with the need to expand her business and shops, Harper copied the structure of the Christian Science organization (See franchising pull down for more details.)
Christian Scientists were one of many customer niches targeted, and the Scientists became devoted Harper patrons.