Jacq's Organics: When Your Kitchen Becomes Your Laboratory
In 2010, Barbara Jacques and her husband James decided that they wanted to start a family. After a month of learning that they were expecting, Barbara found out that she had an OVARIAN TUMOR. In the midst of doctor’s appointments, she became obsessed with learning about her body and trying to figure out how she could deliver her unborn child without losing her life in the process. She learned so much about the food she was consuming and her overall lifestyle. Then one day, Barbara stumbled upon a research journal that discussed the systematic effects that skin care ingredients have on your overall health. As a self-proclaimed beauty and hair product junkie, Barbara made a conscious decision to learn about what she was putting on my skin, in her body and on her hair. She started learning about ingredients, formulations and the science of herbs. It wasn’t long before her kitchen literally became a laboratory. After a successful surgery to remove the tumor and C-section, Barbara's husband encouraged her to sell the products. So, a year after the birth of her daughter, JACQ'S ORGANICS was launched in 2012!
How do you define sustainability? How do you define beauty?
To me, sustainability means being able to use our natural resources without depleting or destroying the planet. Eating, living and giving back to the earth.
The definition of beauty for me is not about aesthetics or being physically attractive. Beauty for me is about being comfortable in your skin, flaws and all. I’ve had to learn over time that beauty isn’t about perfection but instead its’ accepting your quirks, what makes you different and exuding confidence the way you know how in your own terms.
In my teens, I thought beauty was a beautiful woman. In my twenties, I thought beauty was about having flawless makeup, pretty hair and dressing really well. But I’ve since realized that none of that is important if you aren’t comfortable in your own skin. Beauty to me comes in all shapes, sizes and in different forms.
Where are your materials sourced? And what makes this location special?
I’m really big on ingredients and Florida is becoming a hub and source for organic farming. We partner with local farmers to source our herbs and fresh ingredients including aloe vera, carrots, hibiscus, sage, mint and many more. Since our company is based in south Florida and I’m from south Florida, I wanted to stay true to my roots. Both my parents are from the Caribbean and many of the fruits, roots and veggies found in the Caribbean are grown here in south Florida as a result of the migration from immigrants coming to the states.
What makes south Florida special is the food, rich cultures and diversity. The food and the diversity here in Miami is where I draw my inspiration from. That influence of the different cultures and ingredients is also reflected in our product line.
Is there a growing sustainability sector in Florida? Women of color using healthier products?
Yes, there is a growing sustainable sector in Florida. The west coast of Florida is filled with amazing farms and in the south there’s a huge blooming sustainable food scene here. There are also several co-op farms popping up all over the state, allowing for consumers to get fresh, sustain produce cutting out the middle man allowing for fresher produce that last longer.
In the past year, I’ve noticed a huge shift in women of color purchasing healthier products. Before it was a segmented group but I’ve noticed that more and more women of color want healthier products including food.
Is the market for healthy beauty products growing? How so?
Consumers are smart and they’re more aware about what they are using and the effects it has on the environment and their health. There is a rapid increase in eco-conscious, sustainable living and beauty industry. Beauty alone has had an annual increase of 15% each year. The more consumers learn and question what marketers are try to sell the more the industry will grow. Consumers create the demand and I think this is just the beginning.
Why is community important to you and how are you building a community around your platform/mission?
Communities are very important for several reasons. In a community you are able to interact with individuals, develop relationships and create a bond through a common goal. We’ve been building a community by partnering with like-minded individuals, sharing my story at beauty, yoga, not-for-profit and cultural events. By sharing our mission, we work to educate both men and women about the importance of buying plant-based products and why it’s important about knowing what we use on skin.
What has inspired you the most?
What has inspired me the most has to be my Haitian mother. The base ingredients in our collection is aloe vera, carrots and vitamin E which are all ingredients I used growing up, primarily in my pre-teen and teenage years to help combat breakouts. Anytime my skin started to get out of hand, my mom would make go her garden cut a piece of aloe leave, scrub my face with the jelly or drink the jelly. Or we would also have fun with carrots. She and my aunt would teach me how to make fresh grated carrot juice to help heal my skin from the inside out, and use the pulp to make a face mask. Every night, I would also watch my mom go through her evening beauty ritual. One main ingredient she used on her skin and in her hair was vitamin E.
What are the biggest challenges you face in this industry?
The biggest challenge has to be me changing the way I think. I had to realizing that the only person standing in my way is me. Granted as a small company we don’t have a lot of capital or a huge office filled with employees but we’re young and eager to learn. I realize that as long as I have faith, work hard, stay focused and be resourceful then I’m capable of overcoming any obstacle and any challenge.
What has been your greatest achievement thus far?
My greatest accomplishment is seeing my picture on NBC.com for a feature at Black Tech Week discussing an entrepreneur’s highs and low.
Learn more about Jacq's Organics:
People of color + Sustainability + Fashion/Beauty = GAME CHANGING!