‘Jaydee’s Naturals’ is a herbal, organic hair and skin care brand founded by Dominican businesswoman Jodie Dublin-Dangleben.
Jodie officially registered her business in 2014, just two years after she had started mixing indigenous ingredients to nourish her own natural hair while working out in the field as a civil engineer.
She recalls: “In 2012, I found my relaxed hair was getting dry and dull and even starting to break off because I was out in the sun quite a bit for my day job, so, one morning I just decided to cut it all off. But then I had no clue how to take care of my Afro hair.
“I did lots of research and decided I wanted to make products for myself that were natural without any harmful chemicals. So, the business started from a personal need and then a lot of my friends were asking me for the products, and it evolved from there.”
Jodie’s first creation was a whipped shea butter made from shea butter, cocoa butter, castor oil, aloe vera, honey, and essential oils.
She has since added two shampoos made from black soap and turmeric and lemongrass, a sorrel and hibiscus smoothie conditioner, a guava, bamboo, and passionfruit leave-in conditioner, and a herbal elixir made from stinging nettle and 34 other herbs, powders, and essential oils.
Jodie also moved into skincare with the launch of a turmeric and clay face and body mask made from volcanic clay, local turmeric powder, and essential oils which is one of her bestsellers. She works with four local farmers to supply the raw materials for her products and imports her packaging.
Jodie admits keeping up with consumer demand has been a struggle, but she says it was “a tremendous help” when she was awarded a €15,000 (Euro) Direct Support Grant in 2020 from the Caribbean Export Development Agency.
She adds: “With the help of Caribbean Export we built and furnished our manufacturing space which incorporates solar energy and has access to a 500-gallon water cistern. We are just now completing the space, and then we are hoping to employ about three people on a part-time basis sometime this year. We will start them off with training. They will also do packaging and labelling and then maybe next year we can get them onto producing.
“We also bought some pneumatic equipment with the grant which has increased our efficiency, speed, and productivity because we had been pouring everything out by hand but now, I just press a button, and the containers are filled automatically.”
Jodie primarily sells her products within Dominica but launched an e-commerce website during the COVID-19 pandemic which services international and regional clients. She also ships in bulk to retail locations in Tortola, St Thomas, St Martin, Antigua, and St Lucia.
Currently studying for an advanced diploma in organic cosmetic formulation for hair and skin care, Jodie says she has become even more confident in her formulation skills, and soon plans to launch a high performing, botanical skin care range for issues like psoriasis, eczema, scarring, and dermatitis.
By the end of 2023, Jodie aims to add two to three more products including a natural lipstick line and wants to supply at least two more retail partners in the Caribbean.
Within the next five years, she is planning to register the business in the US and the UK and have her products on sale in Walmart, Target, or Sephora.
Jodie states: “Getting certification to sell our products in the UK, Europe, and the US takes a lot of money so we need to be making enough profit to pay for that. Eventually, I really would like us to be a household name. That is my ultimate goal.”