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Entrepreneur at 13: EDEN BodyWorks Founder Jasmine Lawrence talks to GGF

by Ornella Grosz on January 11, 2013

jasmine lawrenceLike many entrepreneurs who start their own business, Jasmine Lawrence decided to create her own product when she couldn’t find what she was looking for. Her journey began at age 11 when she started to lose her hair. She wasn’t able to find a hair care line to meet her needs, so she went on a mission to explore natural ingredients to restore her hair growth and bring back the silkiness it once had.

Her homemade concoction turned into EDEN BodyWorks. As founder (at age 13) and CEO, Jasmine Lawrence created a company whose revenues are in the millions. Now, at 21, she is a college student. Contrary to belief, she isn’t majoring in business; rather she is a student at Georgia Institute of Technology with an interest in robotics.

At what age did you discover Eden Body Works? What inspired you?

I was eleven years old when I made the jojoba hair oil that would eventually be EDEN BodyWork’s first product. I founded EDEN bodyworks in August of 2004 at the age of 13. After losing my hair to chemical products, I started EDEN BodyWorks to share the products that helped me get healthy hair with the world. I wanted to provide affordable, truly all-natural products that really worked.

How did you learn about the hair care industry and ingredients needed to make your product an all-natural hair care line?

I learned about the hair care industry and about what ingredients to use by searching online and reading books. I also went to different natural hair shows and expos to learn what was going on in that industry.

You mentioned to me the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship. How important was the organization to your success?

In the summer of 2004, I attended a BizCamp hosted by the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (formerly National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship). They taught me everything I needed to know about starting a small business and being and entrepreneur. I also went through their incubator program to help my newly founded business grow. They provided me with an experienced mentor that gave me great advice throughout the year.

When would you say Eden BodyWorks became a success?

EDEN BodyWorks really took off in 2006. With the launch of a new website, appearances on shows such as the Oprah Winfrey Show and a distribution through Wal-Mart, people really started to know about the brand. At the time, we offered about 30 different products. Since it’s re-launch in 2011, EDEN BodyWorks has been working to bring back some old favorites and also provide some new products to give customers what they want.

It takes a team to make the vision come true. Can you name a few players on your team and the importance of their role in making EDEN BodyWorks a success? 

My team is essential to the prosperity of my business. They help me manage, market, and maintain the business day-to-day. Having a strong team of focused individuals is why I am able to attend school and have a successful business.

My family supported me with my business from the beginning. My mom and sisters were among my first employees. Both of my parents helped me stay focused and motivated as I worked and went to school.

Can you describe an obstacle you faced which you overcame?

One of the biggest obstacles I faced while first starting my business was gaining respect as a young businesswoman. There were so many people who told me what I couldn’t do and how my dream was impossible for someone like me. I overcame it by ignoring what they said and working hard for what I wanted. Despite all the people who told me “no,” there were people who did believe in me and I stayed positive. Soon, the success of the business spoke for itself and there was nothing I needed to prove.

I know EDEN BodyWorks is sold through Wal-Mart. Any other retailers?

EDEN BodyWorks is available in Wal-Mart Stores, Sally’s Beauty Supply Stores, on curlmart.com and also on edenbodyworks.com

How has the success of your company impacted you?

The success of EDEN BodyWorks has opened so many doors for me. It has allowed me to share my story and my creations with other people around the world. I have traveled across the country and met so many leaders, entrepreneurs, and people who are living their dreams. They encourage me every day. EDEN BodyWorks has allowed me to learn a lot about my strengths and skills and also has shown me how I can improve. One of the greatest things is that it has taken away a lot of the financial burden of attending college. It has enabled me to live life fearlessly and has taught me that to accomplish something great, you have to give 100% and really be passionate about what you do.

I understand you have an interest in robotics. Why robotics?

Robotics has been an interest of mine from a very young age. It is a fast paced and challenging field that is very exciting. My dad exposed me to technology as a child and my love for tinkering and building things grew. After seeing the movie Bicentennial Man I was amazed. I knew that in the future, the robots from that movie could become a reality. I want to use robotics to help people in their homes and to work cooperatively with humans in other social situations.

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