We are excited to feature one of our 2022 Women of Color Incubator Pitch Competition winners. These up-and-coming Black women business owners are sure to inspire and motivate other young Black women entrepreneurs, and all of us, to pursue their own business ventures.
Meet Jada Harris, Founder and Owner of A Holistic Haven and 2nd Place Awardee from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.
What inspired you to start your business?
I have always had sensitive skin, so I know the process of trying tons and tons of brands that claimed to be gentle enough, but they either caused a reaction, or were not effective. I felt as though individuals with skin conditions should not have to hold their breath every time they purchase a product, or have to depend on a soap from one company but have to use a moisturizer from another because all the products within one company are not created equal. The turning point however was when I learned that there are so many harmful ingredients within skin care products that worsen many skin conditions, yet are legally allowed due to the lack of regulation in the cosmetic industry. This is when I told myself that I needed to form a brand that prioritized safety regardless of regulation to meet the needs of individuals with sensitive skin.
What has the entrepreneurship journey looked like for you so far?
The entrepreneurship journey so far has been a rollercoaster. The period from when I first had an idea all the way until I began building it within the WOC incubator was a slow, yet suspenseful climb. The weeks that I was practicing and perfecting my pitch was the peak, and the moment I stepped on stage was the thrill. As I continue along on this journey, I am expecting to repeat this cycle again and again, but I am excited for each and every moment.
What has been the most rewarding part of being a young female entrepreneur?
The most rewarding part of being a young female entrepreneur is the growth that I am seeing within myself. This program provided me with my first large-scale public speaking event through the pitch competition. The idea of speaking publicly in front of an audience about a business idea I built up within just six weeks was nerve-wracking, I had moments of doubt, but deep down I knew that this program provided me with everything I needed to succeed, I was capable, and I would have not been given an opportunity if I was not ready to fulfill it. This was an opportunity that brought me outside of my comfort zone, and I am so appreciative for it because that is where growth occurs.
Where do you see yourself in one year? How about 5 years?
In one year, I see myself continuing to build off of ‘A Holistic Haven’s” foundation. We will have launched and have begun to obtain revenue for the company. Additionally, we will be implementing new product lines to continue to keep up with the demand and needs of our valued customers. Within 5 years, A Holistic Haven will still be working towards becominga household brand name. We will actively be interacting with other businesses to improve accessibility so that all individuals with sensitive skin can, and will have a convenient, high-quality, and safe option. Additionally, I see myself working with other young women entrepreneurs to help them begin or continue to build their businesses with the knowledge and resources I have gained so far.
What advice would you give to other female founders just starting their business?
To future and current female founders the most important pieces of advice I can give you is to trust and believe in yourself. You know what you want to come of your business, and because of that you are already beyond capable of bringing it to reality. In times where it feels as though your business is not going in the right direction, know that there is a community of women-owned businesses rooting for you, but you must always be your biggest cheerleader. Also, take advantage of any, and all learning opportunities to grow your business,and remember that mistakes, drawbacks, or any “failure” is a teaching moment meant to help you come back stronger.
How did you first learn about the WBENC WOC Incubator?
I learned about the WBENC WOC Incubator through my university. They put a posting on one of our school social media platforms and it said something along the lines of “Are you an owner of a women-owned business, or have a business idea,” and it said that WBENC was holding a pop-up event on campus. Funny thing was they posted it 3 hours prior to me seeing it, and there was only about 10 minutes left before the event was supposed to end. I just finished classes for the day, but I was not sure if they had already left so I was driving over to the event center while simultaneously calling to see if anyone was still there. Long story short, Audrey was still there, and the rest is history.
How would you describe your experience?
My experience has been exhilarating. First a foremost, being surrounded by other young women striving to accomplish a similar goal was amazing. It was a safe and supportive community, and to see the growth of our businesses and each other throughout the program was beautiful. I have had thoughts and inclinations to start a business for years, but to take that thought and begin to turn it into a reality is surreal. Each session was jampacked with quality information. I never left a session without learning something new, or without being inspired by a guest speaker who at one point was in my shoes, has succeeded in their plans, and has come back to answer our questions and provide us with insight.
What did you learn during the program that will help you grow your business?
I learned how to formulate a business model, test it, map out an execution plan, and market my brand which will always be valuable because even once I get my business off the ground, it does not just stop there. The ideas that my team and I come up with in the future will still need to be refined and tested before they are applied to make sure that it leads to continuous growth. Additionally, knowing how to market my brand is important in making sure that our mission, goals, and accomplishments are clearly recognized to all interested personas.
What’s next for you and your business?
Currently, we are recruiting the last essential members of our team so we can prepare to execute our go-to-market strategy and launch within the coming year. Additionally, I am going to continue searching for opportunities to continue to build our brand and improve the necessary business/leadership skills that I need to succeed as an owner/leader.