#BeenThereLearnedThat: Jasmine Lawrence on Building a Brand and Leaving a Legacy

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By Kia Imani

Starting a business isn’t something that is accomplished overnight. In fact, oftentimes business ideas remain mere thoughts for years before they actually come to fruition. For Jasmine Lawrence, at the age of 11 she had an idea for a natural product to restore hair health. Over ten years later, Lawrence’s simple idea is now a thriving brand and impacting lives around the world.

Lawrence is the founder of EDEN BodyWorks, a beauty brand that integrates wellness and beauty designed to maintain the hair and body’s original design. EDEN BodyWorks was born as a result of Lawrence experiencing significant hair damage and failing to find a product that successfully nurtured her hair back to health. So she created one herself- giving birth to a brand that is now sold in major retailers nationwide.

Even as an accomplished entrepreneur at such a young age, Lawrnece continued on to college where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science, with concentrations in devices and artificial intelligence and later earned her Master’s degree in Human Centered Design and Engineering.

The Life Currency spoke with successful entrepreneur and engineer Lawrence about her path to success, her passion for engineering and some of her accomplishments to date.

Starting a business at such a young age is no easy feat! How did you manage to start your business and keep it progressing while still attending middle school, high school and college?

I was able to manage and grow my business by building a dynamic team to work alongside me. Our team runs on trust and focus. Together we are able to accomplish things I could’ve never done on my own. I am grateful to have a team that shares my passion and brings creative ideas to my company.

What was the biggest challenge you faced while running a business and still attending school?

The biggest challenge is managing my time. Although I keep close eyes on my calendar and email, I’m often not as responsive to my team as I should be. These are often times when I have things going on in my personal life or when school deadlines are approaching. I’ve learned over the years to maintain a better balance, to communicate my situation and to give myself more rest so I don’t burn out.

Even now, how do you manage a full-time job while running such a thriving business?

For me, motivation is key. I am amazed everyday by the impact EDEN BodyWorks has on people around the world. It encourages me to do more and to expand our offerings. I also love how I’m able to impact people with technology at Microsoft. I’m driven by how I can help people in both of my careers. I do have to make trade-offs and sacrifices to get it all done but I’m not alone. My team, friends and family are great supporters of me.

You went to college and studied Computer Science, with concentrations in devices and artificial intelligence. Did you always have an interest in STEM?

Yes, I’ve wanted to be an engineer since I was a little girl.

How does your STEM knowledge help and support EDEN BodyWorks? Do you find yourself using your engineering knowledge to help your business grow?

Absolutely! I’ve learned to apply my analytical engineering mind to customer-centered problems. I’ve also taken what I’ve learned in business and customer service and applied that to my technical work. In both fields, listening well, communicating effectively and having clear goals have been useful skills for success.

What is the biggest career lesson you’ve learned along the way?

I would be lying if I didn’t say time management. Making time for the people, experiences and things that matter have been crucial for me to live my best life. Patience is probably a close second.

What has been your greatest accomplishment to date?

That is a hard question to answer. I am most proud of the legacy I’m leaving behind. It’s an honor to be seen as kind, hardworking and approachable. It has allowed my story to inspire others and given me opportunities I could have never asked for.

People hear success stories and assume there were no struggles or obstacles along the way. What has been your greatest obstacle in your career thus far?

Getting my business started was the greatest obstacle. As an underage, minority, female entrepreneur I wasn’t exactly the image that came to mind when people considered what a business person should be. To be honest, some people just looked down on me because of what I looked like before I even spoke. I had to mature and prove to people why my business was going to be successful.  I did this with thoughtful elevator pitches, an organized business plan and the strong work ethic I maintain today.

Thankfully, my youth shielded me from taking any “adults” too seriously and my passion to impact the lives of others kept me motivated to keep going.

What are three tips of advice you’d give to recent college graduates or individuals looking to start their own business?

My advice is as follows:

  • Whether it’s life or business, make a plan and be prepared to make changes to it.
  • Invest in yourself. Become educated, see the world and always make time for having a little fun.
  • Surround yourself with other motivated people who can inspire you and build you up.

Kia is a recent college graduate that's simply trying to grasp the concept of "adulting". She enjoys hugs, quotes, a good book, and all things motivational. Her favorite book is The Alchemist and she can watch Girlfriends all day long.