Beyond Beauti caught up with the busy Jade-Allison to take a glimpse into her world,
JA: I am 18 years old.
JA: In my life in general, I’ll be honest, I’m a bit in over my head. But in the arena of entrepreneurship, I would say that not only am I living my passion, but I also get to develop new passions along the way.
JA: Though I started my business at age 13, it wasn’t until December 2017 (when I was15) that I started to actually enjoy what I was doing. Love is a far stronger word than “enjoy” though, so I would say I fell in love with this unique opportunity last year, at age 17, and I think it reflects in my work since then.
JA: Island Aromas was conceptualized in September 2015 at the E-Camps Kidpreneur Programme; an afterschool programme ran by Mrs. Portia Harrigan that fostered the entrepreneurial mindset in young adolescents. My two teammates and I worked hard to develop what was just a candle business back then, eventually placing 2nd at the end of the programme in December 2015.
Since then, the independent ownership and operation were assumed by me, and it was a constant battle of whether this was something I wanted to do or not. I didn’t believe in myself, and I was miserable. But nowadays, I feel like I’m in my element. Constantly learning and growing; innovating and creating. Entrepreneurship is very fulfilling for me and has served as a unique, challenge and impetus for my personal and professional development. I’m very grateful that I have the opportunity to be an entrepreneur.
JA: Branding is among one of the passions that I would not have discovered had it not been for my entrepreneurial journey. I am actually in the process of rebranding right now, but initially, I didn’t give much thought to branding as I didn’t really know what it was. When you think of skincare, you think of white and airy and pure, and it’s this very calm experience. The same thing goes for when you think of aromatherapy – essential oils and harp strums. I wanted my brand to be different. I wanted people to know that skincare could be colourful and fun and that peace didn’t have to be a spa day; it can be taking a splash at the beach with your friends. And in turn, fun could look sophisticated. I think my brand developed as my personality did. As I got older and learned that there was a time and place for everything, I developed a less childish, playful side to me – a more poised one. But that in no way means that childlike joy has left me; it’s just more balanced. That duality exists, and it’s beautiful.
JA: Given that my brand is inspired by the VI, inspiration lies within my everyday experience. Sometimes I would see a flower and think, “I think I can turn that into a candle.” Other times I’ve had conversations with people from another sister island, and they’d mention a landmark that was a prominent part of their culture. And sometimes, I just choose something abstract that is so quintessential of the VI that it can’t be ignored. The Virgin Islands is my inspiration. As far as choosing products go, I usually ask my customers what they want next, or I see something cool on the internet, and then I come up with some cool creative spin on it.
JA: I’ve learned that I’m very creative. Growing up, I thought that academics was the only thing I was good at, but through entrepreneurship, I’ve managed to develop the creative realm of my mind. I also learned that I’m resilient. Half of the time, I have no idea how I’m going to pull things off. I just make a plan and trust that it will work out. Everything always works out in the end; even when something goes wrong in the middle.
JA: The originality and the uniqueness of my products lie, not only in the fragrances but also in the names and backstory that I give them. My mission is to connect Caribbean people to their tropical roots through personal care and aromatherapy. That specificness makes it feel more like a personal experience to the customer. I offer high-quality products, and people come back because they want more.
JA: I don’t have a warehouse, but I transformed my bedroom into a factory – hauled out the bed and everything! So all my products are made and packaged in that dedicated room in my house.
JA: Giving the circumstances (COVID-19), there have been global supply chain shortages, making it hard to source materials from my preferred suppliers. It’s a never-ending cycle of piece-piece ordering and alternate supplier scouting, but it works out, so I try not to make it a big deal. But in terms of getting supplies into the country, every time I clear a package, I shed a tear. I know people tend to scold local business owners for having pricey goods, but more than likely, it’s quite justified. Shipping costs IN America plus the costs of parcel forwarding to the VI really does drive up the cost of goods.
JA: Island Aromas Bentonite Clay is a volcanic ash that has the ability to withdraw toxins and heavy metals from your hair and skin. Think of all the reasons black hair gets a bad reputation: it’s dry, it’s unmanageable, it’s this, it’s that. Everyone always attributes it to black hair being “bad hair” and never to the actual problem: many afro-textured girls haven’t been taught how to care for their hair properly. Most of my customers have remarked that after one use of the clay, they’ve noticed that their hair became softer and more manageable (all while maintaining its beautiful natural texture and curl pattern). Over time, this manageability persists, and you retain more length and moisture, making your hair grow longer. It has also been used to remedy acne skin and sweat and odor production in the armpits and feet.
JA: It is located in the vicinity of the Moorings in the same building as the French Deli, on the rear side facing Burke’s Garage. I share a space with Blushing Beauty, Sweet Intimates and Thrifty Stationery Store. So if you find them, you find me.
JA: Guana Island Guava candle, Brewer’s Bay Breeze lotion, Lemongrass body wash. Why? Because they smell good. There’s no deep explanation for this one.
JA: Well, as I mentioned earlier, Jade-Allison is rebranding Island Aromas to give it a more professional and globally appealing feel. As of right now, my next great mission is to learn how to market my business. Have photoshoots, work with models, run ads, the whole 9 yards. Just working on creating an experience and building a name for my brand before I start churning out new releases again.
JA: Quite honestly, you probably already know your passion and might not see it is as a skill, just because it’s so second nature to you. Find that thing that you love to do, and you’re good at doing, and then do it! If you need help on how to execute it, I suggest you brainstorm and ask around for ideas. Forge a plan, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. You can even reach out to me if you need help coming up with a game plan.
JA: I’m currently finalizing my specials, but yes, this is sure to be a deal-filled holiday season.
Waking every day to work on ideas that build passion and feed the soul is a reality for few. It requires drive, focus, commitment, and consistency. Be open to what is possible. Our young entrepreneur has learned at an early age to be fearless. Discover the passion that lives within you and SORE!