When it comes to mixing self-care and sustainability, Brown Girl Jane is at the forefront in the beauty category. The buzzy wellness brand integrates the beauty of Blackness with practical wellness products designed to embody healing, balance, and community. Founded by Spellman graduates Malaika Jones, Tai Beauchamp, and Nia Jones, Brown Girl Jane was created to elevate the self-care experience for women of color by providing plant-based solutions options for your daily routine.
While BGJ has a lineup of products rooted in research, sisterhood is the brand's heartbeat. Its founders recently entered the fragrance category with the "Wanderlust" collection, including three luxurious scents that enhance emotional wellness. These new scents reflect the global destinations they're named after and are designed to boost your mood. Ahead, we spoke to Malika, Tai, and Nia about their relationship as founders, the Black wellness space, and the intimate relationship they share with their customers.
What was the inspiration behind creating Brown Girl Jane?
Malaika: I initially was a bond trader, which is a world away from wellness and beauty. Tai worked in publishing, and Nia was in philanthropy. While we were in these different worlds, we realized we were being everything to everyone and neglecting our personal wellness. We wanted to build a brand and community we wished existed for us, and we realized there was a void. This contributed to making BGJ, which helps lower the stress and elevate the beauty of our sisters. Our community has quickly grown and resonated because other women recognized they need support and anti-stress solutions.
Tai: BGJ is about simple ways to incorporate comfort in your daily life. We recognize that we're all so busy, but those additional self-care steps don't have to be excessive, and they can be simple ways to create joy or ease in your day. Stress is real, and those simple solutions are necessary.
Nia: We wanted to remove guilt from the self-care process. It's not a luxury but a necessity to take a moment for ourselves. Our brand serves as a reminder that it's okay to put yourself first.
Each BGJ product is designed to enhance a different aspect of personal wellness. What goes into ideating products for your customers?
Malaika: We wanted to focus on decreasing stress, accessibility, and having easy-to-use products. Our Wanderlust Collection, for example, evokes the transformational properties that scent can have. Still, we wanted to take it farther by showcasing that the three fragrances reflect unique moods. Ultimately, we seek to continue innovating the space and redefining what wellness means to women, which looks different for all of us. For some, it's pilates, while for others, it's spraying a new perfume or cuddling your pet.
BGJ goes beyond selling products and encourages educating and supporting Black women's wellness. Tell us about your most recent summit and why it was a meaningful experience.
Tai: 2020 was our inaugural year hosting the Black Beauty and Wellness Summit, and we learned even more about our community in light of COVID-19. Women—especially Black women—are hungry and enthusiastic about conversations regarding health, wellness, beauty, and entrepreneurship. Speaking directly to our consumers helps us identify what products we want to create for Brown Girl Jane.
Nia: Another layer to entrepreneurship is putting our money where our mouth is and not just providing a platform for education but financial support. Through our partnership with Shea Moisture, we were fortunate to provide over $400,000 in grants to Black women-owned businesses. Recently we launched the Brown Girl Jane Foundation to further advocate for the wellness and health of women of color.
Collaboration and uplifting women are a significant part of your branding. As a trio of founders, how do you motivate and uplift each other?
Malaika: The beautiful thing is that we can identify when we need a break or support. Because we have different specialties and backgrounds, there's not a lot of overlap in our daily tasks. Our business feels seamless, supportive, and sisterly. If that's the message we aim to share through our brand, we must embody that internally. We're not always going to get things right. Still, we're transparent with each other and invite honest communication, which is essential when you're founders and business partners.
Women's wellness has taken on different meanings over the years. How would you define it?
Malaika: We typically hold badges of honor for being superheroes and pillars of strength, but we now know that can cause a decline in our mental health. It's beautiful to see that self-care has shifted from "nice to have" to "must-have" for Black and Brown women. Wellness all comes down to how you're supporting yourself. It's been rewarding to see how hungry people are for solutions to their wellness.
Nia: We've always been a culture of wellness practices, from meditation to medicinal practices. We're returning to what we've been doing historically and reclaiming our wellness. It's not luxury, mainstream—it's a part of our history and returning to our roots.
What BGJ products do you recommend for essential wellness in 2022?
Malaika: I love the gelees because they are portable and can be kept in your purse. Our rest drops are amazing for getting sleep which can be challenging after a long day. Lastly, our Lamu fragrance because it layers so well with other scents and can bring you joy.
Tai: The balance and rest drops are an essential aspect of my daily routine. Our Glow Luminous facial serum helps hydrate my skin and keep it radiant all day.
Nia: I have three young boys, so my go-to is Balance Wellness drops. They are so easy to use and can help with calmness throughout my day. Parents can always use a dose of calm, and these drops help me find my zen.
How do you encourage your customers to practice self-care outside of BGJ products?
Malaika: Tai hosts a weekly interview segment called "You Good Sis?" allowing real-time engagement with our customers and leaders within our community. It's enlightening to listen to people like Kelly Rowland or Tracee Ellis Ross to hear their experiences and know you're not alone in your struggles.
What can we look forward to from BGJ this year?
Tai: We're excited about our fragrance collection, which is available at Nordstrom and Bloomingdales. We're only two-years-old and barely getting started, so we're looking forward to shifting conversations and opening the doors for more Black and Brown girl wellness.