Student’s business: Natural at its best

Entrepreneurship can be defined in more than one, and it looks different for each individual. For Jamesha English it looks like island vibes, natural oils and minimization.

English, a 20-year-old graphic design major at Florida A&M University, is not the typical student. Born and raised on the island of Antigua and Barbuda, English was exposed to the significance of simplicity, not just in life but the things that you put on and in your body.

She describes growing up in a home where her mother mixed her own products to treat their natural Afro hair and skin. These practices are one of the many things that she took with her when she relocated to the U.S. in 2014.

After a year of searching for products to treat her hair and skin, English realized that her needs just wouldn’t be met with what was available in stores.

So in 2015 she started making her own mixes at home.

Three short years later English decided to share her concoctions with the world.

“I’ve never been one to use products with ingredients that I couldn’t pronounce,” she said.

This concept of staying true to simplicity is reflected in her Shea butter mix, which includes fewer than eight natural ingredients.

The young entrepreneur is looking to expand the line. “I’m actually working on a Shea butter body shimmer and a flaxseed gel,” English said.

Because her products aim toward those who are a part of the natural hair community, she wants to ensure that her products are versatile. For example, her Shea butter mix actually doubles as a hair and body moisturizer with a shelf life of one year.

But like all entrepreneurs, the pressure of perfection can sometimes stifle the creative process, ““I personally struggle with being a perfectionist, so the last thing that I want to do is give somebody something or do something for someone and it’s not perfect.”

Regardless of her internal battles, English has received much praise and support from her customers and family. Shonary Woods, an animation design student at Tallahassee Community College, raves that he and his girlfriend love the mix and is happy with the how well the product performs, “For me it always matters more if the product works then price or even the ingredients, well they’re important but I like to feel like I didn’t waste my money.”

Others who haven’t tried English’s products yet wait patiently for the chance to. Brianna Carter a pre-occupational therapy student at Florida State University, said, “I saw her at Set Friday a couple months back and I meant to grab a bottle but got lost in the crowd.” When asked why she was interested in the mix, she simply said, “I love black-owned businesses and a black business catering to black hair is a beautiful thing that I want to support.”

While Jamesha English is currently not selling her products she is exploring other endeavors such as photography, but plans to start distributing her products again soon and remain true to her roots of simplicity.