When a bad experience with a chemical relaxer caused middle-schooler Jasmine Lawrence's hair to fall out, she didn't just send " Dude! My hair!" texts to friends and post before-and-after pictures on her MySpace page. She developed an all-natural hair oil to regrow her tresses and founded her own company to market it—all at age 13.
Lawrence had already begun online research on natural ingredients and companies like Carol's Daughter and Aveda when she was invited to participate in a 2004 business camp offered by the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurs. The camp, along with financial and moral support from her parents, gave her the tools and impetus to launch Eden BodyWorks.
Today, this teen oversees her growing business while still attending high school, where she's a member of the DECA business club, the National Honor Society, Interact Club, REBEL (an anti-tobacco organization) and the student council. She is also active in community service, tutoring elementary school students in math and reading and participating in annual March of Dimes and Strides Against Breast Cancer walks. In her " spare time," she likes to play the harmonica, shoot hoops and hang out in her New Jersey hometown with her parents, four sisters and brother.
What are the biggest challenges facing the naturals industry? Due to the current recession, importing natural ingredients has become much more costly. Also, the ever-changing demand for increased quality and lower prices is challenging.
What would you like to see change in the naturals industry in the next five years? I would like to see more breakthroughs in natural studies and easily accessible alternatives to chemicals.
What do you enjoy most about what you do? I enjoy hearing success stories and comments from happy customers. It makes all my hard work and sacrifice seem worth the struggle.
What accomplishment are you most proud of? The launch of my Peppermint Tea Tree [hair care] line into Wal-Mart stores [last August]. This is my best accomplishment because it shows a national demand for my products.
What's next for you? My goals are expanding my products internationally and developing a facial line, children's line and men's line of products. My other career goals are to study engineering and culinary arts.
What keeps you going on a tough day? My blog, blog.edenbodyworks.net. Being able to answer people's questions and concerns and hear how much they love my products makes everything worthwhile.
If Ben & Jerry's named a flavor after you, what would it be? It would either be a chocolately sensation called Jazzifizzle or an all-natural flavor called Eden Delight.
Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVIII/number 8/p. 28