“Many people could never picture a teenager running such a successful business. I don’t think they should be so surprised anymore.”
Company: Eden Bodyworks
Products: All natural hair & skin care products
Age started: 13
Worth: Estimated £2 Million
The REALLY Bad Hair Day
Every teen has had a bad hair day, but for Jasmine Lawrence, her trauma turned good when she ended up developing a line of hair and skincare products out of her home, today worth an estimated £2 million.
Jasmine was only 11 years old when a hair relaxer left her almost bald from all the chemicals it contained. She went from a fun, outgoing girl, to feeling shy and embarrassed. She was withdrawn, and tells of staying at home and crying all the time. In an effort to get her hair to grow back, Lawrence tried everything on the market. In the process, she started noticing all the chemicals contained in virtually every product she came across. Unable to even pronounce most of the ingredients on the bottles, Jasmine vowed never to put another chemical in her hair again. This started her search for all natural products she could use instead, only to find that there weren’t any out there.
The Big Idea
Jasmine continued on her mission of researching and recipe making in her mum’s kitchen until she came up with her first product, an all natural hair oil that is still a best selling item today. From that early age, Jasmine’s ‘big idea’ was really a vision: to create a line of hair products completely free from harmful chemicals so that no girl or woman would ever have to go through what she went through. She knew there was a huge gap in the market for girls and women of colour, like her, who needed special products to care for their hair.
The Business Launch
When she was 13, Jasmine attended a summer business camp where she learned what it meant to be an entrepreneur. At the camp, she received free legal and financial support, along with advice on packaging and distribution. Starting with just $2000 loan from her parent, Jasmine was officially in business! She started with a rolling cart full of oils that she would take from one salon to another asking staff and customers if they wanted to try her products. It was just a matter of time before Lawrence was running a full-scale operation in her family’s basement.
Jasmine’s sister was her first employee and eventually her mother left a six-figure job to work for her daughter. The business mostly spread through word-of-mouth, and after only 5 short years, has grown from Jasmine producing one bottle in her kitchen, to a large manufacturing plant producing 55-gallon drums each month.
Barriers and Breakthroughs
Though it sounds like a dream-come-true story, it hasn’t been an easy road, and she didn’t win everything she went for, but Jasmine is proof that hard work and perseverance are the recipe for success in business and life. In fact, prior to the success of Eden Body Works, Jasmine entered a business competition to win seed capital – and didn’t even make into the top ranking contestants. This loss was upsetting, but ultimately it spurred Jasmine on and focused her attention to what she already had going with her organic hair products. With Eden, Jasmine was often not taken seriously due to her age. When she was first promoting her oils, she tells of being laughed at, “A lot of people said no; they laughed in my face and stared at me like I was a joke or something. It was really disheartening and discouraged me from wanting to do this business.”
Jasmine was one of many young entrepreneurs nominated for Black Enterprise’s Teenprenuer award, which led to a conversation with a Wal-Mart representative. Talks continued and Jasmine suddenly found herself distributing to one of the largest chains in the country. Eden Body Works products are now sold in over 1000 Wal-Mart stores across America, leading Jasmine to sign a similar deal with Wholefoods. Around this time, her story was picked up by CNN, NBC and Oprah Winfrey, which helped to spread the word. The rest, as they say, is history!
Jasmine also works long hours and juggles a busy life of school, family, and building her business – all while still making time for friends, basketball and volunteering on the side.
Jasmine now, at the age of 19 is a successful CEO of a business with products distributed all over America, worth over £2 million. She’s taken a break from the business to go to university and study engineering, but Eden Body Works continues to grow and expand under a great management team until Jasmine can return to devote more time to it again in the future.
“There are plenty of teen-run businesses today. Teens are venturing past the conventional money-making jobs like babysitting, or working at fast food restaurants and lemonade stands. We teens today have bigger dreams and higher expectations for ourselves than anyone could imagine. Sometimes all we need is a little encouragement or some inspiration on what we can really do.”
Wise words from a wise young business woman.