[BLACK, FRESH & 20-SOMETHING]<br />
EDEN BodyWorks Founder, Jasmine Lawrence

Jasmine Lawrence

Jasmine Lawrence is not your typical 22-year-old.  At 13, Lawrence became so frustrated with her chemically damaged hair that she started concocting her own all-natural hair care products. With the help of a $2,000 loan from her parents, the teenager then launched her company, EDEN BodyWorks and made over $1 million selling her products online. Now, EDEN BodyWorks products are one of the most known on the market, being sold at national retailers like Wal-Mart, Sally Beauty Supply, Walgreens and Krogers. And while she's running her own successful company, the recent Georgia Tech alumna and aspiring roboticist is also a project manager at Microsoft on the Xbox One team.  EBONY.com caught up with Lawrence to learn her keys to success and discover what's next for this fast-rising star.

EBONY: We really can’t believe you began creating EDEN BodyWorks at the age of 13. Tell us how the brand came about.

Jasmine Lawrence: It really came about for my own need of natural products.  I couldn’t find anything that was all-natural and that was high quality. I had done a relaxer and it did a lot of damage to my hair.  After searching around, I didn’t find anything that was quite right for me, so I decided to make something. 

EBONY: Where did the name come from?

JL: The Garden of Eden was this pure place in the Bible; it nourished your body, and nourished your soul.  That’s what I keep in mind when making the products, those core elements.

EBONY:  Was this just a “let me get in the kitchen and figure this thing out” process that led you to your brand?

JL: I knew there were natural things that I could use for my body, skin, and hair.  I just started doing my research.  I saved up my allowance and I had my mom take me to a natural store.  I bought pure honey and other ingredients and [experimented with] the effect they each had on my hair. 

EBONY:  What kind of damage did you have to your hair? 

JL: I had split ends, it was dry, and it didn’t grow. You name it, I had it.  I had a range of different problems.

EBONY: What about your business knowledge? Where did you get most of your guidance?

JL: I went to business camp around 13, after I made my products. I learned that when you are starting a small business, you have to find a need.  I didn’t know there was such a huge demand for natural hair products when I created my line. I just knew that I wasn’t the only person who had bad product experiences and needed affordable products. 

Jasmine Introduces New Coconut Shea Collection!

This 22 year old is the beauty and brains behind EDEN Body Works hair brand

EBONY: Being a 20-something, what is your greatest challenge of being entrepreneur?

JL: My biggest challenge is moving on to the next big thing in my life—the next big milestone—and keep[ing the momentum going.  I just graduated [from Georgia Tech], and with our product launch coming up, our 10-year anniversary next year -- there are things just boiling up.  I really want to relax, [but I sort of can’t]. I’ve been grinding the past nine years. It becomes overwhelming when working on two careers simultaneously; I need a break. 

EBONY: So do you plan on relaxing?

JL: I guess…yeah! Actually, trying something I know I am not good at helps me relax. Like a cool new hobby. When I am out of my comfort zone I am most relaxed.  There’s no pressure to succeed.

EBONY: Speaking of the pressure to succeed, what do you think the biggest pitfall is that a lot of millennial’s suffer from?

JL: I think the biggest challenge is having an expectation that things are going to be easy because they are going to be done your way. I think exposure of being in the working world and working for someone else to see structure is beneficial.  If you are at a job and you say, “I have to do x, y and z to get this promotion,” or you have to take these types of classes in school in order to persevere in [your] career, you know what steps to take to make success happen.

EBONY: Thanks to your new position at Microsoft, you’re a part of two different business worlds. What do you think you learned from Microsoft that you’ve applied to EDEN BodyWorks?

JL:  Both companies have taught me a lot, and I definitely apply them back and forth.  [At] Microsoft, I have to take into account my relationships with colleagues, and also experience from people that are doing a similar job as me.  No one in my company has a similar job as me, but in Microsoft, I am constantly learning, and growing; still trying to take in that industry.  I also am learning focus and discipline because the impact that I want to make doesn’t come as quickly as it does at EDEN. At EDEN, I can say, “Hey, lets make all of our labels green,“ and the labels are changed.  At Microsoft it is totally different. 

EBONY: What are your long term goals for EDEN?

JL: I want the whole world to experience EDEN BodyWorks. If I can inspire someone to start his or her own business, or awaken a dream they had, then that’s equal to getting rid of someone’s hair issues through my products.  How I have positioned myself hasn’t been through luck, it has been through a lot of hard work, and effort.  If I can teach people, and share with them how I got here, it’s the same as formulating new products. 

EBONY: Any personal advice for our BF20 readers?

JL: Find your passion and live your dream.  Whatever you love, you have to really give it your whole heart; no matter how exhausted you may be. Even when there’s an easier way out, you have to keep pushing.