[BLACK, FRESH & 20-SOMETHING] EDEN BodyWorks Founder, 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 onlineNow, 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. 

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.


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