We had the good fortune of connecting with Jessika Carter-Ross and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jessika, how did you come up with the idea for your business?
Madam J Beauty is a luxury, plant-based beauty brand. The conception of this idea came about after I worked for five years as a beauty advisor. I assisted customers with makeup consultations, and purchases including cosmetics, skincare, body care, and fragrance. I quickly saw the disparities in the beauty industry in my daily work life. I often had Black women come to me excited to see someone like them in the beauty department, only to later find out that the shades weren’t deep enough to fit their brown-skinned complexion. A lot of the products were also filled with toxic ingredients that you couldn’t pronounce. I felt a move in my spirit that I needed to make a difference in the beauty industry. It didn’t make me feel good to know that everyone couldn’t enjoy the fruits of beauty, it can be so refreshing for your mind and body. I started testing out products in my kitchen with the goal of not only creating shades that complimented brown women, but also encouraging a plant-based and clean approach. Black women are exposed to toxins in much greater depths than other groups of women.
What should our readers know about your business?
My first products were 10 shades of Vegan lipsticks, a Shea & Cocoa Butter body butter, and an Amber Soap Bar. Now we have over 60 products in categories including skincare, body care, cosmetics, fragrance, nail care, lash care and hair care. We relaunched in 2019 with a goal to help boost the confidence and wellness of women and men through beauty. Wellness is a priority for my brand and that includes a lot of different pieces. We also now have monthly meditations and journaling with @jasmineturnertv to further push the button to wellness. Growing up I went through a lot and saw a lot. I lived in a single parent home with my mom and four other siblings. I also have a twin sister! Life wasn’t alway easy being that funds were limited and there were a lot of days we went without. But the greatest thing I’ve taken from childhood is the amount of LOVE I had in my home. My family is super close and we never let money steal our joy. Money does not buy happiness and I’m glad I learned that at a young age. If you are new to the Madam J Beauty family, we would love to have you! While the brand started with the intention of making beauty inclusive for Black women, we have beauties of all races and ethnicities who support and fill my brand with love! Skincare is our top seller and we have products fit for every single skin type. We carefully create each product to fit your every need. All products are extensively tested before it even hits our site. You’d be surprised to know the many products that didn’t meet our standards. We craft everything handmade in Richmond, VA. You can find our brand in 8 locations in VA, which can be found on our site. We’ve been featured multiple times on @beautyindependent, @therichmondexperience, @blocalsearch and much more!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If everything was open, here’s what we would do. I would definitely say a museum date at the Broad is a must! We could grab a smoothie on the way out and then head to the Griffith Observatory for some amazing views. Of course we’d stop for pictures! We would take the metro and go hang out in Santa Monica. Hear some music and just enjoy the scenery. We’d head back and stop by Little Damage for some ice cream. Once we got home we’d get some Chicken & Waffles from Roscoe’s delivered for dinner.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to shout out an organization I co-own called Her Creative Space. Owning a small business can be very demanding and it’s important to take care of yourself. I had to take a step back and realize that I can’t do everything and I needed rest. Our sisterhood helped keep me balanced. This organization works to offer a SPACE to empower you on your path to being your best, whole and fulfilled self— mind, body and soul. Living well can help everything around you flourish, including your businesses! When I started taking care of myself and listening to my body, that is literally when my business started to grow. You can’t pour from an empty cup. If anyone is going through this, we are having our first “Soul Centered Self-Care workshop” in May.
Jenny McQueen Dia Caster