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Home-grown formulas from EDEN Body Works resonate.

ATLANTA -- Jasmine Lawrence was only 11 years old when she faced her first beauty challenge. Her hair was badly damaged, but she couldn't find natural products to nurture and restore her hair back to health.

With no solution in sight, she concocted her own remedy in her kitchen. At age 13, after attending a NFTE BiZCamp, she officially launched EDEN BodyWorks. Originally her sisters were her "test market" and her parents were her first "investors" in the business. She grew the business via her community --selling products at local events, church and other locations. She was "discovered" and invited to share her story on Oprah, where the brand immediately gained national attention.

That is where the story of EDEN BodyWorks begins. It certainly isn't where it ends, as her homegrown formulas have resonated with others and blossomed to a rapidly expanding, certified women-owned business. Her first retail partner was the biggest of all--Walmart--as the chain's buyers saw the benefit of her JojOba Monoi Hair Oil.

EDEN BodyWorks products are now offered by just about every major retailer in the country.

That includes beauty supply stores, natural stores, online and, soon, international distribution.

For Lawrence, it isn't only about building sales. "We care passionately about empowering women and educating people about the overlap between wellness and beauty," she explains.

Lawrence has a knack for being ahead of the pack. For example, "kitchen beauty" is becoming a major trend, with niche brands emerging in the market. Lawrence was a pioneer in that. Second, major oil is a hot ingredient in hair now, something she discovered long ago. That intuition helps keep her innovative and bringing to market products that address ready consumer demands.

EDEN BodyWorks has expanded beyond just hair with new items in the works, including a skin and body collection, along with more hair care offerings based on essential oils. Prices range from $7.99 to $9.99.

To help retailers build sales, Lawrence recommends merchandising her items in the natural products segment, especially since the line appeals to women of diverse backgrounds. That is most likely where they'll head in the store. "We encourage chains that have a natural focus or a multicultural consumer looking for affordable luxury products in the hair and skin categories to #DiscoverEDEN," she adds.

Social media has helped expose women to EDEN BodyWorks. "The brand has an amazing community of women, men and children who engage with the brand on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter," says Lawrence.

EDEN BodyWorks' digital strategy consists of campaigns featuring influencer favorites (for example, #FridayFavorites), retailer tags/contests (such as #EDENinTarget and #EDENinWalmart), educational tips and usage/benefits, branded messages (such as #StylewithEDEN and #ShopwithEDEN), everyday women using the brand (#EDENRealBeauties) and an overall lifestyle mix of fashion, style, hair and beauty coverage. This year the brand expanded its content to include travel as added inspiration for sharing beauty around the globe.

Lawrence has come a long way from her kitchen. She is a master's degree student in the Human Centered Design and Engineering program at the University of Washington. She also works at Microsoft as a program manager on the Xbox One engineering team. When she's not racking up Gamerscore, she is creating cross-platform social experiences for gamers around the world.

While earning her bachelor's degree in computer science with concentrations in devices and artificial intelligence from the College of Computing at Georgia Tech, she conducted research in the field of robotics. She served in the Georgia Tech Healthcare Robotics Lab and the Robotics and Intelligent Machines Lab.

Her background as an engineer by education has fostered a strong commitment to fostering and mentoring young girls in technology and STEM.

EDEN BodyWorks also supports heart and breast cancer awareness.

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Source: Minority Business Development Agency
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Title Annotation:Supplier Diversity
Publication:MMR
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 2016
Words:627
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