You’ve heard the old saying many times -- take care of your body and your body will take care of you. Unfortunately, most of us are actually harming ourselves when we think we’re healing; after all, today’s body care products contain a distressing amount of toxins. Fortunately, Jessica Mann is helping the health-conscious with Ari Rose, a holistic body care company that offers a healthy clean without all of the harmful chemicals.
We try our best to take care of our bodies. Eating healthy, exercising, getting a good night’s sleep -- and of course, maintaining our personal hygiene. It’s a basic human need that many companies continue to capitalize on; in fact, you’ve probably seen at least a hundred commercials on which brand of soap is best and if you’re anything like Jessica Mann, you’ve probably picked up your fair share of Dove, Olea, and Dial products over the years.
“You’d think that most body care products or soaps are good for you based on what you see in commercials. There’s a lot of sophisticated marketing behind major brands, so it’s easy to take what you see at face value. They show you the pretty packaged final product, but they don’t show you how it’s made.”
And there’s good reason for that. If you’ve seen documentaries like Super Size Me, then you’re probably aware that a fair number of major brands don’t always like to advertise how they make their products and the harmful ingredients used to produce them. Thankfully, modern technology provides consumers like Jessica with a platform to do their own research and make informed purchasing decisions.
“When I was pregnant with my second daughter, I came across a study by the Environmental Working Group that reported over 280 toxins were found in the umbilical cord blood of newborn babies. Some of those chemicals stem from our environment and pollution, but what we put on our skin really does add to that number. That’s when I decided I had to make a change and push for products that were actually good for my body and unborn child.”
So Jessica took all of her body care products and tossed them in the trash. After spending months researching and experimenting with a number of different ingredients, she began creating her own soaps and creams. At the time, they were only for personal use.
“I’ve always been a very health-conscious person, so when I started making my own products, I was just using them on my family. It all started as a hobby but eventually I began posting photos of my creations on Facebook and Instagram.”
Soon, her inbox was filling up with dozens of emails asking the same question: ‘are your soaps for sale?’
“When people started showing interest in what I was doing, I knew I was on to something. I started selling my products as a side hustle and received wonderful feedback. Even though my products were doing really well, I was running a nonprofit and raising young children -- it was a lot of a work, so I didn’t want to start a business at the time.”
That all changed for Jessica after she and her daughters went to live on an organic farm in Costa Rica for three months. It was there that she realized how holistic health and wellness practices could offer massive benefits in body care. In many ways, spending time in Costa Rica validated her desire to manufacture organic, all-natural body care products. Upon returning from her trip, Jessica had a very difficult decision to make.
“I came back from this eye-opening experience and weighed the positives of starting a body care company against the time and resources that it’d take to launch and run a business. What ended up being the deciding factor were the emails that I’d received from customers. They were asking when I’d be back so they could order their favorite soaps or creams.”
That was when Jessica launched Ari Rose and turned her hobby into a full-time career. Named after her daughters Jada Ari and Priya Rose, Ari Rose offers body care products with nourishing ingredients such as organic coconut milk, raw honey, cinnamon, turmeric, and oatmeal. Jessica says the all-natural ingredients have resonated well with her customers -- some of whom have battled life-long skin conditions.
“I have customers with eczema, psoriasis, cystic acne, and severe or dry cracked skin that say the product works wonders for them. That’s been a huge source of motivation for me. I also think that having truly healthy and natural body care should be the norm and not the alternative.”
Although Jessica adds that her products are not a substitute for professionally-prescribed medications, she says that daily use of the right body-care soaps, creams and more offers benefits of its own.
“Self-care isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. You have to do it every day, but you also have to make sure you’re using the right tools. You don’t want to use something that may offer a quick fix of your problems today, but cause you more trouble down the road.”
To build out her business, Jessica joined the LatinX incubator -- a 12-week accelerator program for Hispanic entrepreneurs formed out of a partnership between 1871 and the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. She credits the program for helping her realize her true potential.
“When you look at the statistics against being a minority, mother-owned business, it’s almost like you’re destined to fail. So to have this great community of successful, diverse entrepreneurs is incredibly comforting and inspiring -- it shows me that I can do whatever I set my mind to and that I am more than capable.”
And if Jessica’s sales are any indication, her hand-crafted body care products are a tremendous hit. Although she admits her profession isn’t easy, she couldn’t see herself doing anything else.
“Entrepreneurship is a lifestyle and you’re going to have to sacrifice a lot. I run into a number of people who want to start a business, but at the end of the day, they prefer security so they’re asking themselves, ‘how can I take this risk?’ But I think the people who are really passionate about something -- I mean to the point where it’s always on their mind -- they’re asking themselves, ‘how can I not?’”
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