She Started a Skincare Company in College! Interview w/ Jamika Martin
Meet Jamika Martin, the founder of ROSEN Skincare! Learn about how she started her skincare company while in college and addressed a problem she experienced for years!
Jamika thank you so much for your time! We really appreciate you being willing to share your story with us! So let's jump right in. I'm sure young women would love to know...
What first sparked the idea for your ROSEN?
ROSEN came about after my personal difficulties with finding clean and effective skin care. I am someone who has dealt with difficult skin for most of my life, but I'm also someone who likes to understand the ingredients in my products. After consistently having to choose between natural and gentle skin care or effective skin care that was filled with chemicals, I founded ROSEN to fuse the clean and effective skin care!
Solving a problem that you experience in your own life is such a powerful motivator in following through and finding a good solution, but at some point you had to turn ideas into action. So ...
How did you transition yourself from forming ideas to taking real action?
I've always been someone who acts pretty easily on tasks or ideas that I have, and with ROSEN it was the same. My cousin and I had met up and told each other we would come back in 2 weeks with ideas for what we are working on. Once I had developed the very early stage idea for what I wanted to do, I then spent around $200 to buy raw ingredients and started making products! I would say from initial idea to sending out products to my friends to test out was probably about 4-6 weeks.
For some people, just deciding to really do something, even if it's just tinkering, is super difficult. So that's incredible that you dove right in! But of course when you finish up testing and you start operating as a business, things can get a tough.
Can you talk about an obstacle you've had to overcome?
The hardest part about entrepreneurship is growth. Growing a company takes so much trial and error and persistence that it makes it super difficult. For the first ~ 1 year running ROSEN, I was really just maintaining it as I finished my undergrad. However, now that I have graduated, I have really been able to look into routes of growth and see how to go from here.
Another obstacle I would say I faced, more subtly, was being a beauty company. In the world of start-ups, you often think of apps or software or other things in the tech field. At the beginning, I constantly kind of questioned whether or not what I was doing with ROSEN was considered a "start-up". At times, my company feels less "credible" than other companies or I feel a larger need to prove myself in this space.
Absolutely. Splitting time and attention I'm sure was hard when trying to scale, and figuring out how you fit in the start-up world in the process is a challenge all on it's own. The difficulty to legitimize yourself amongst start-up peers was one thing, but within your industry there is probably even more to prove.
How did you stand out in the fierce competition of the beauty world?
As I said before, ROSEN was really created out of my difficulty to find these natural, but effective products. Since starting, I always knew that we would set ourselves apart by being natural, because there aren't many completely natural brands on large markets. However, after fine-tuning my brand I have really honed in on being effective. ROSEN produces skin care that shows great results, for those with super difficult skin like myself, while maintaining the integrity of our ingredients. You will be hard-pressed to find a product on the market that is as clean as ours and still is geared toward acne-prone skin.
Amazing! Being able to communicate what truly makes you different is so crucial to success in entrepreneurship, and there's so much more that entrepreneurship has the power to teach us.
What lessons has entrepreneurship taught you? Any of them specific to you being a woman in business?
Being an entrepreneur has taught me that you have to work hard and act fast in life. Moving forward is all about action and if you wait too long on something, or continue to push it off, you won't achieve what you want. ROSEN has taken 200% of my time, energy and focus and if I put anything less than that into it, I would have failed already. What's good doesn't come easy and being an entrepreneur has definitely taught me that. But it has also taught me that if you live a life of passion, working extremely hard can be super fun. I love what I do with ROSEN and I am so inspired every day with what we create.
Being a woman in business is obviously a difficult task. Being a woman with a cosmetic company is also pretty difficult because it's kind of what is "expected". I'm not looking to create an Uber or Amazon, so ideas like mine are often casted aside unless the person listening is really passionate about what I'm talking about or understands the industry. I can speak to being a woman in a male dominated field (entrepreneurship) but I can't speak to being a woman in a male dominated industry since I work with beauty. There have been many amazing women before me paving pathways in this industry, just not many women of color. I'm so grateful for the positions I have been in, but I feel with my identity, I constantly have to prove myself even more. I feel like the fact that I am selling products and have revenue allows me to be on equal playing fields with tech companies that are just ideas.
Your story of starting ROSEN, especially while in college, is so inspiring to me and I'm sure many others who know or want to learn about entrepreneurship and its ability to add to the world. As a final question we love to ask...
Why do you believe we need more women starting businesses?
We need more queens out here killing it and innovating. We need more women investing and growing companies. Especially from a standpoint like mine, I need that support because often times men just don't understand my industry or my visions for ROSEN. Women are amazing and so powerful and their representation in entrepreneurship is important for young girls, innovation and so much more! We especially need to see more women of color killing it in this industry as well.
That's exactly why Mindset & Milestones exist. There is so much work to be done with getting women, especially women of color, access to entrepreneurial opportunities and eventually capital; but, we're so glad that girls growing up now will have women like you to look up to!
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