We had the good fortune of connecting with Joshelle Jackson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Joshelle, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I first fell in love with natural beauty products in the early 2000’s after watching Lisa Price of Carol’s Daughter on the Oprah show. I was watching the show with my mother and she was describing how she started her business making skincare products right from her kitchen. I was so inspired how someone could make such amazing, rich and healthy products with simple ingredients. But, it wasn’t until years later that I would become even more connected with natural beauty. In 2013, I had my daughter and went through a rough patch of postpartum depression. I had moved from Connecticut all the way to Atlanta and was miles away from my family whom I was very close with. I was so in love with being a mother but postpartum depression had taken a toll on my mental health. One day, after an emotional and draining day, I began to reflect back on Lisa Price and how she made bath and beauty products from her kitchen. Since I was a new mom, I only wanted to use the most simplest and safest products for me and my daughter. As a new mom, I wasn’t getting out as much and so I would use the times during my daughter’s naps and bed time to make some products and create a little me time. Even if I only had 15 minutes, I was good! I would make various body butters, scrubs and soaks to use during bath time. I would light a candle with a scent that inspired my mood, dimmed the lights and played some soft and soothing music. During the holidays, I started to share my products with close family and friends. Everyone loved the products! They were like, “Joshelle, you have to sell these!” But, it wasn’t until 2018-2019, that I actually started to entertain the idea of starting my own business. I decided to take a leap of faith and launched Retro Elle in May 2019. Retro Elle actually means “Getting Back to HER.” I wanted the concept of Retro Elle to be about merging natural beauty and mental health after my own personal story of battling postpartum depression. I realized that other women could relate to the feelings of putting others first and neglecting their own selfcare. The modern day woman is so busy juggling many hats these days. Whether you are a mother, a wife, a student, or corporate woman, you need to remember to make time for you and get back to HER every now and then. We have now expanded with Retro Elle and are incorporating more aromatherapy inspired products to help women set the mood for their selfcare routine. I never knew I could grow to love something so much while also helping other beautiful women.
What should our readers know about your business?
Many people may not know but I’m also a full time social worker by day. Aside from creative ventures, I’ve always had a love for people. I think the fact that I genuinely love helping others helps me with my business Retro Elle. Others would say that I’m a down to earth person which helps me to be relatable. When creating Retro Elle, I wanted to create a business that I personally resonated with. I didn’t want to just create products and sell. I wanted to create products that helped me during my difficult time of postpartum depression that worked for me but could also help others in their selfcare journey as well. Running a business is definitely not easy when you have no knowledge of business or examples in your own family or social circle. I’m constantly learning and making mistakes along the way. I feel that I’ve grown more in my business through trial and error and learning to humble myself and reach out to others on things I don’t know. I feel that so many us don’t know what we are doing in the early stages of business but are afraid to ask others for help. I’ve found that there are more seasoned entrepreneurs that want to see us win more than we think and willing to give honest and useful advice. But, the key is developing an actual relationship. I now have a beautiful sister circle of fellow entrepreneurs willing to listen and give amazing advice and feedback that have helped me along my journey. I want the world to know that when it comes to entrepreneurship, its ok if you don’t know what you are doing. Most of us don’t. But, if you are willing to put pride aside, open up to others and ask for help, you’ll be surprised what help the universe will send your way!
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.
I’ve been living in Atlanta since 2012 and I’m still learning so many great things about the city. Although, we are in COVID-19 times, there are still some amazing places to visit. I think visiting the Rev Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. area is great because what he did in history will forever be powerful. On tour, you get a chance to visit the home he grew up in, church he preached at and burial site for him and his wife. You can also visit the Georgia Aquarium which is one of the largest in the USA, the Coca Cola Factory and the huge Ferris Wheel. There are a ton of amazing eats within the city of Atlanta but also the outside of Atlanta as well. I personally love the Marietta Fish Market which has amazing seafood eats and is located in Marietta, Georgia. I also suggest the Slutty Vegan which as many locations and features amazing all vegan burgers and sandwiches that taste just like meat. You can always find amazing events happening downtown Atlanta at various parks and most concerns and tours come to Atlanta as well.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to shoutout my mother for instilling selfcare in me at a young age. I remember growing up, my mother was big on selfcare. She would take me out on girly day dates of pampering, light candles around the house, blast uplifting music and give me self help books as a teenager. She would write the most inspirational cards and letters about loving myself and always remember who I am. Because of her teaching me about selfcare, I make sure I do the same for my daughter as well. And when we all get together, we often enjoy days of self love, fun and women power encouragement.
Photo By: Kenya Meon Instagram: @k.meon