When Jasmine Lawrence founded EDEN Bodyworks in 2004, she never imagined over a decade later she would have over 50 products (and counting) a part of her natural, cruelty-free hair care brand. After experiencing a damaging hair chemical burn at age 11, Jasmine was empowered to create natural products that would restore and nurture her hair. After attending the NFTE BizCamp she officially launched EDEN Bodyworks at the tender age of 13. Not only is she a burgeoning entrepreneur, but she acquired a Bachelor’s in Computer Science and a Master’s degree in Human Centered Design and Engineering. She has worked for Microsoft, Facebook, and is currently the Project Manager on The Everyday Robot Project. As she continues to drive innovation in tech and engineering, she has ensured curlies have access to affordable natural hair and body products.
EDEN Bodyworks is inspired by the beauty and natural elements within nature that includes benefit-rich ingredients void of sulfates, parabens, and silicones.When you #DiscoverEDEN you are introduced to simple and clean beauty that works for hair types ranging from 2A-4C. Each hair collection is formulated to help with definition, breakage, detangling, protein sensitivity, and thin/fine hair. The collections all showcase their featured ingredients, the types of hairstyles you can create with the products, and influencer tutorials to walk you through the styling process. We chatted with Jasmine about the origins of EDEN Bodyworks, the latest Body collection, and how she stays engaged with her devoted customers.
Please introduce yourself and share what you're passionate about. . .
I’m the Founder of EDEN BodyWorks, a company that makes natural hair and body care products with a mission to encourage women to live happier, healthier lives. I also serve as a Product Manager on the Everyday Robot project at X, the moonshot factory. The Everyday Robot project is building a new type of learning robot—one that can eventually learn to help everyone, every day. I earned my Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science from Georgia Tech and my Master's degree in Human-Centered Design & Engineering from the University of Washington. Outside of work, I enjoy writing (mostly poetry), playing video games, and traveling.
Where did the name EDEN Bodyworks originate from?
The name EDEN BodyWorks is derived from the Garden of Eden from the Bible. It was a beautiful and natural place that God designed where the Earth would provide what people needed to thrive. When founding this company, my goal was to have all of our products leverage the benefits of natural ingredients to help people so I thought the name was quite fitting.
What was the formulation process like?
The formulation process starts by understanding the needs that we’ve learned that people have via research and customer feedback. Sometimes we choose to extend an existing product line or create a new one to address that use case. In the case of a new product line, we brainstorm as a team on which natural ingredients are best suited to provide the expected results as well as complimentary ingredients that can provide other benefits and improve texture, or fragrance. We experiment with many formulations for each product and carefully analyze feedback from the team as well as a select group of early adopters before selecting the final one.
Are there any challenges to having natural/cruelty-free products?
There are definitely trade-offs, especially when it comes to costs, but these are intentional decisions that we don’t take lightly.
EDEN Bodyworks has seven collections, do you have a favorite or most memorable line you’ve created thus far? Why?
While I don’t have a favorite line, the Jojoba Monoi Hair Oil is the most memorable because it was the first product I ever created. When I first formulated it I never imagined the nearly 50 products that would follow and the thousands of people who would be impacted by them. It also reminds me of how encouraging my parents were of me to pursue my passions.
How would you define #DiscoverEDEN?
Discovering EDEN is an opportunity to take what you’ve learned about yourself and what you need and exploring our brand’s offerings to find something to aid you during your healthy hair and skin journey. These offerings could include products, advice, tutorials, or even a supportive community as you grow in learning to love yourself more.
You’ve recently launched the “Body Collection,” what inspired you to branch into body products?
It was an area I was interested in exploring, but also a natural progression of the brand as we grew. We received a lot of requests for these types of products from people who have used our hair care products for many years. Many people have developed a care regimen for healthy hair and had a desire to extend that to their skin as well. I’m excited that we were able to expand our Coconut Shea line to try to meet that need.
What are some of the hardest lessons you’ve learned and what did they teach you?
The hardest lesson I’ve learned is to make sure I take care of myself. Being a leader at my own company, working in a demanding role in tech, staying close to my family, building relationships with friends, dating, and life, in general, can take a toll on a person both mentally and physically. When I was younger my strategy was to just push through until a natural time came to slow down. As I gained more and more momentum in my tech career and as EDEN BodyWorks continued to grow I realized that this method was not sustainable. I have learned to make time to take care of myself even if that comes at the expense of other opportunities in life.
How do you define success and then what keeps you motivated, especially during hard times?
Success for EDEN BodyWorks is defined by the progress we make towards our mission of creating great products that help people live happier, healthier lives. What keeps me motivated is my desire to serve people and make a positive impact on this world. When things get hard, this motivation keeps me focused on what’s really important: the people we serve. I’m grateful to have received a lot of encouragement from the community and from those who are close to me.
During these challenging times we’re seeing more people interacting online, how do you stay engaged with your customers?
My team uses social media to stay connected to, support, and encourage our followers during these times. We leverage these channels to listen and learn what people are facing and how we can best support them. We also use them to share positive stories, inspire people to keep taking care of themselves, and to celebrate others who are taking positive actions to improve our current situation.
Top tips to grow your brand’s social presence?
My top tip would be to find an authentic voice and style that fits the personality of your brand. These are essential to defining what people can expect when they engage with your brand. I also recommend finding a good balance of consistency and experimentation to keep things fresh but not entirely unexpected.
Best advice for other entrepreneurs...
My advice for other entrepreneurs would be to focus on the needs of the people you want to serve with your business and use data to inform your decision-making processes.
What legacy do you strive to leave?
I want to leave a legacy of love and service. This is at the root of the plan I have for my life and goes well beyond what I do in my career. I want to be remembered as more than just a person who started a successful business at a young age. When people think of me, I want them to think of a person who put their heart into everything they did, unselfishly supported others, and was dedicated to encouraging and creating opportunities for others to grow and thrive. I truly believe that I am using my life to change the world for good and spread love to anyone in need of it.