Jasmine Lawrence started her hair care and beauty company EDEN Bodyworks at the age of 13. Find out what inspired Jasmine to launch her own business and how she built it from the ground up.
As a child, Jasmine Lawrence participated in pageants and modeling, including the Little Miss Hawaii competition in 1994. It was through those events that she learned firsthand the pressure placed on participants to conform to certain Eurocentric standards of beauty like having long, straight hair.
“In the early ‘90s, it was all about having your hair relaxed and straightened,” she says. “And those treatments are not only unhealthy for you, they’re also expensive. But that was the price of success. I had a really bad reaction to one relaxer, and it caused me to lose huge chunks of my hair, with burns to my scalp.”
Unable to find any solutions to treat her hair loss, Jasmine, 11 years old at the time, turned to the local library to research natural ingredients that she could use to help nourish and grow healthier hair. She started experimenting for two years with natural tea oils and herbs to see if they would work for her hair—and they did.
“It was a breakthrough for me,” she says. “I didn’t want long, flowing hair. I just wanted to not be bald.”
In 2004, at 13 years-old and then living in New Jersey, Jasmine began her beauty brand, EDEN BodyWorks, pitching as many Black-owned beauty shops as she could in New York City.
I just wanted to not be bald. And then because I’ve always been really focused on individuals, it stopped being just about me and started being about what I could do for other people.
Success at any age
When Jasmine started pitching her product door-to-door at 13 years-old, some adults were skeptical while others were downright hostile.
“One of the first challenges was the social acceptance of my age,” she says.
She didn’t give up, and the customers who did try Jasmine’s hair oil loved it, leaving glowing reviews about their healthier hair on her parents’ home voicemail and on the company’s website.
Word spread and she landed a spot on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Oprah had also experienced a damaging relaxer application that left her temporarily bald. It wasn’t long after this that retailers came calling.
Just two years later, EDEN BodyWorks was a thriving natural beauty and skincare business dedicated to helping restore and grow healthier hair in an affordable manner, and empowering women to feel confident regardless of their appearance. And at the age of 15, Jasmine was running the whole business.
Today, Jasmine relies on an executive team to help run day-to-day operations. The team was first assembled when it was time for her to go to college, and she has worked with them ever since.
Taking EDEN BodyWorks next-level with Amazon
Jasmine leans on her brand’s ability to sell in Amazon’s store, describing the experience so far as being “huge for us.”
Joining Amazon was a major milestone for EDEN BodyWorks, she says. The primary attraction to sell with Amazon was the convenience of having a larger audience reach and the ability to integrate its existing operations with Amazon’s third-party logistics services.
EDEN BodyWorks is also a part of Amazon’s Black Business Accelerator (BBA), which Jasmine says has helped to increase the brand’s exposure, in addition to leveraging discovery tools such as the Black-Owned Business badge and the Women-Owned Business storefront.
“I appreciate being brought together, being able to connect, and seeing a difference in sales because of this space created by Amazon,” she says.
How to balance dual lives as a business owner
For the past 10 years, Jasmine has also worked full time as a product manager in the tech industry.
“I knew from a very young age that I wanted to work in tech, in robotics, and these two careers have never felt at odds for me,” she says. “For me, my work, whether in the beauty or the tech industries, has always been very human- and people-centered.”
Jasmine’s vision for EDEN BodyWorks remains focused on staying true to the company’s values of affordability, naturalness, and effectiveness. She constantly challenges her team to maintain these values while still innovating and expanding their product line. The business now has over 50 products, including hair care collections like Papaya Castor and Jojoba Monoi.
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