Barbara Jacques didn’t set out to build a successful natural beauty and body care products company, Jacq’s Organics. A health issue prompted her to seek answers and actually led to her starting her own business.
“Due to health issues, all of a sudden I was bedridden. And this was stressful because I was always on the move, had multiple jobs and I now had to stay home–I couldn’t even work out. I could do nothing so I researched my illness. I was the type who only shopped at farmers markets; I worked out 7 days; and for 16 years had natural hair, so why was this happening to me? I was a beauty product junkie, so this could be the reason. So, I did more research and I learned about what I was putting on my hair and on my body for the sake of beauty.”
Jacques started experimenting by making her own beauty products in her kitchen. She made soaps, masks, and lotions. “The more I learned about formulation, the more I became hungry and started reading all these books and watching DVDs on formulation. Then, I started cooking up the things in the kitchen,” she says. Soon her friends started making requests. “My friends would come over and ask ‘Why do you have all this soap in your kitchen,’” says Jacques. “Then, one friend said her daughter had a skin issue, and asked if I could make a bar of soap for her. Others asked what should do about issues.” So, her handmade creations started to grow.
Still Jacques, who gave birth to a healthy baby girl, wasn’t sure this could be a full-fledged business until she tested it out on the general market. ”We went to a street sale and sold all the products we had,” recalls Jacques, who still had her full-time job at the Urban League. “My boss got wind of my side project as I was getting some press about it. There was one women’s health event I was working on for the Urban League and I got to tell my story; I was swarmed with women at my table asking me all these questions. That’s when I realized this was bigger than me. I needed to help educate women. I transitioned out of my job two years ago and started on this new mission.”
Jacques officially launched Jacq’s Organics, and eventually took her creations out of the kitchen. “I actually loved my home-based business because my mother-in-law lived down the street and helped me a lot; also, everything was within reach. Then I moved into a studio, 600 square feet. It did scare me because of all the new responsibilities and extra expenses, but the landlord is also a mentor and helped make the move less scary.”
Jacq’s Organics offers soaps including the popular Carrot Con Leche (ingredients including coconut oil, organic rice milk, shredded organic carrots, and essential oils). Jacq’s Organics also features masks, serums, toners, and lip products, all made from natural ingredients. “We source our ingredients from local farmers and this is also a way to put money back into our community,” says Jacques, who also blogs and gives workshops about harmful beauty product ingredients.
Looking ahead, she wants to take Jacq’s Organics national. “We want to take it national and open a retail store so we would have a larger reach,” shares Jacques, who proves life experiences can lead to new meaningful business opportunities.