It was out of frustration that in 2004 Jasmine Lawrence started EDEN BodyWorks–at the age of 13. There was a lack of natural haircare products readily available on the market. Today, EDEN BodyWorks sells natural products that integrate wellness and beauty inspired by nature to restore and maintain the hair and body?s original design. And the products are still made with the same natural ingredients Lawrence used from the start. The products have no petroleum, mineral oils or sodium sulfates and are used to strengthen and repair all hair textures–from relaxed to natural.
Lawrence tells TNJ.com how she got started and what the future holds for the brand.
TNJ.com: What prompted you to launch EDEN BodyWorks?
Jasmine Lawrence: After having trouble with my own hair and not being able to find great products that were natural, affordable and worked for me, I decided to develop my own products. I researched many different ingredients until I found the right formula to help me attain healthier hair. I founded EDEN BodyWorks to share my creations with the world. I wanted to help other people who had trouble with their hair, body and self image.
TNJ.com How did you fund the startup?
JL: I started raising money for EDEN BodyWorks by saving my allowance. After presenting my business plan to them, my parents loaned me a small sum to help with production. After that, I continued to use the company revenue to fund business development, operations and research.
TNJ.com: What were some startup challenges and how did you overcome them?
JL: Many of my challenges were the result of my age, gender and race. Young, Black girls are not the kind of people you see on the cover of major business magazines. Many people didn?t take me as a serious entrepreneur because I was only 13. I had to change their hearts and minds with my dedication to my work and maturity in communication.
TNJ.com: What have been some challenges as you grow the company?
JL: One of the challenges I?ve faced as the company grows is managing the growth. This means not jumping at every opportunity that comes our way but having a strategic plan for investments and expansion. There are so many possibilities to pursue and needs to be filled but I don’t want to exhaust our resources or my team by overwhelming them and spreading ourselves too thin.
TNJ.com: How do you stand out from your competition?
JL: EDEN BodyWorks is unique in its focus on education, empowerment and commitment to the community. The products offered complement our commitment to encouraging women to live happier, healthier lives. We sponsor groups and organizations that are committed to similar core principles including the idea that beauty extends beyond your outward appearance. Finally, the EDEN BodyWorks team continues to listen to feedback from our customers so that we constantly remember that we are in the business of serving others not just making a profit.
TNJ.com: What has been your biggest business lesson?
JL: One of the biggest lessons I have learned as an entrepreneur is how to manage my time effectively.
TNJ.com: What are your goals for 2015?
JL: 2015 has been a great year so far. This year we launched a kids? line and continue to expand product availability nationwide. These were my top two goals. This fall, I?ll continue yo work on my master?s degree.
TNJ.com: What are your long term goals?
JL: EDEN BodyWorks has so much potential! Expanding our distribution and product lines over the next few years is essential. I have a great desire to expand internationally. Nothing is certain but the future is bright and rich with opportunity.
TNJ.com: Why do you feel people should patronize your company?
JL: As I mentioned before EDEN BodyWorks has a focus on education and contributing to the natural hair community. Everyone has unique hair and body challenges and needs and at EDEN BodyWorks we do our best to create products that help meet those needs in addition to encouraging and empowering our customers to have healthy lifestyles.
TNJ.com: What do you like the most about what you do?
JL: What I like most about EDEN BodyWorks is the opportunity to travel and meet people whose lives have been impacted by my products. I enjoy learning about their stories and getting suggestions of what to do next. It?s always exciting to get feedback, good and bad, face to face. I also enjoy being able to be a good role model and inspiration to other people who have dreams of starting their own businesses or pursuing their passion. Finally, I really enjoy that I am able to do all that and continue to pursue my love for engineering.