Beginning a successful business at any age is no easy feat, but the founder and CEO of EDEN BodyWorks managed to do that and more at the young age of 13. Frustrated with products that were damaging her hair, she set out to find her own all-natural solution and in the process founded EDEN BodyWorks. Today, Jasmine's skin and hair care products have become a staple in many households around the world, and are sold at Target, Walmart, Walgreens and other major retailers. We recently caught up with the 20-something year old CEO to find out how she built the internationally distributed company, what her future plans are, and more.
OBWS: What inspired you to begin EDEN BodyWorks and how did you get your start?
Jasmine: At a young age I had a bad reaction to chemical hair product. I couldn’t find affordable products that worked for me so I did research and developed some hair care products in my home. A few years later I went to a NFTE business camp and learned how to start a small business. I began 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.
OBWS: How did you learn about the hair and skin care industry, and the different ingredients that would work?
Jasmine: I did a lot of independent research on the hair and skin care industry. I looked online and in many books to develop a knowledge of natural ingredients. I iterated on product formulas with friends, family, and other people I met a trade shows and networking events. Eventually I landed on effective formulations based on the needs people expressed.
OBWS: In recent years, the hair care industry has grown tremendously with women becoming more aware of harsh chemicals and creating their own natural products. How do you differentiate from other established and new brands?
Jasmine: EDEN BodyWorks is unique in its focus on education, empowerment and commitment to the community. The products offered compliment our commitment to encouraging women to live happier, healthier lives. We sponsor groups and organization that are committed to similar core principles including 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.
OBWS: What was the most challenging part of establishing a successful business?
Jasmine: For me the most challenging part has been trying to manage the time spent working and doing all the other things that I want to do in life. There is a lot of sacrifice and compromise involved.
OBWS: What has been your greatest professional success?
Jasmine: One of the greatest moments was celebrating the 10 year anniversary of EDEN BodyWorks in NYC. It was amazing to see how far the company had grown since it started in my kitchen, to see the integrity and passion of my team and to meet some of the people whose lives were touched by my story and my work.
OBWS: What does your day-to-day look like?
Jasmine: I honestly don’t have a typical day to day schedule. I wake up pretty early to make sure I get a good workout in and eat a healthy breakfast. Sometimes I go to work at Microsoft other days I fly across the country to an event or meeting for EDEN BodyWorks. I usually spend weeknights doing homework, having dinner with friends or working on electronics projects. If I’m not traveling on the weekend like to spend time relaxing at home or hanging out with my church family.
OBWS: Do you feel like you face any challenges in corporate America as a 20-something year old black woman and business owner?
Jasmine: I know that there are historical reasons that make it difficult for people like me to excel in the business world but I refuse to let those things stand in my way. I put in the same effort, commitment and dedication to excellence as anyone else and that is what is respected. I could not allow challenges I race due to my race, gender or age serve as an excuse to why my goals weren’t met. I do hope to empower others like me to pursue their own businesses despite the challenges that exist.
OBWS: Are there any black business owners who inspire you?
Jasmine: There are way too many to name. I’ve always been inspired by Madam C.J. Walker and Oprah Winfrey not only due to their financial success but also their commitment to philanthropy. .
OBWS: Do you have any other future career goals outside of EDEN BodyWorks?
Jasmine: Outside of EDEN BodyWorks I have goals to continue as an engineer. I’ve had a lifelong dream to work in the field of robotics and create technologies that help people. I would also like to continue to be a speaker and mentor to women and minorities interested in business and STEM.
OBWS: What are your future plans for EDEN BodyWorks?
Jasmine: I believe that EDEN BodyWorks has great potential for growth and expansion. In addition to expanding the available products to meet other needs in the skin care space I hope to bring EDEN BodyWorks to an international audience in the future.
OBWS: What advice do you have for other aspiring black entrepreneurs looking to break into the hair and skin care industry?
Jasmine: My advice would be to plan well, form a great team of like minded people who are also committed to success and to network at industry conferences to learn and meet new people.