Afrodiziac by Le Juiceee; The Black Owned Skin And Hair Care Company That Is Making Sure Everyone Can Have “The Juice”
When it comes to true representation for the products that we buy, people of color can often feel like an afterthought. From an early age, we learn that major corporations don’t always market to us or create for us. This lack of representation is shown in many aspects of our day-to-day lives, especially within the skin and hair community. White people have the luxury of knowing that when they head into a store there will be multiple aisles dedicated to their skin, hair, and beauty needs. People of color, impractically black people, don’t have that same privilege while shopping. Instead of multiple aisles dedicated to their personal needs, there is normally just one labeled “ethnic”. It’s even more disheartening that majority of the products within the “ethnic” aisle are made by corporations who don’t truly care about their targeted market (people of color) at all. There has definitely been a void within the skin and hair care community when it comes to developing for people of color, and Afrodiziac by Le Juiceee is here to fill that void. Afrodiziac by Le Juiceee is a 100% Natural hair and skin care line that is the epitome of FUBU (for us, by us). This amazing line was created by Julie aka Le Juiceee (graduate of Purchase College), who is not only the owner but also the chemist and mastermind behind the products. From the tip of your head to the bottom of your feet, Afrodiziac by Le Juiceee is a one-stop shop for all of your hair and skin care needs. During our interview, Julie told me everything about her, her company, how’s she’s breaking ground within the beauty community, and what it truly means to have “the juice”.
Twila-Amoure: Before we get into your amazing hair and skin care line, tell our readers a little bit about yourself and your favorite hobbies.
Julie: Let’s see, I’m 24. I am a Netflix binge watcher. Oh, I also love to work out; I actually just started a weight loss journey. I’m a God-fearing woman. Umm… and as far as hobbies go, I guess you can say my company is my hobby. I really enjoy what I do. I make soaps and products for hair and skin care. I enjoy figuring out different formulas and different scents. I also just recently launched a non-profit organization as well!
Twila-Amoure: Tell me more about your nonprofit organization.
Julie: It’s called The Afro HeARTbeat and it is the sister non-profit organization to my skin and hair care company. It’s an organization that aims to encourage, expand, and, elevates the importance of creative expression in underprivileged communities. Our focus is the message between the art of science and the science of art. I feel like our community, as people of color, was robbed of our voice and I want to help give that voice back. Especially our creative voice, it’s most important in my opinion. You can’t be your true self without a creative expression and I want to help create platforms and give a creative place to those who otherwise wouldn’t have it.
Twila-Amoure: I love that! I don’t think a lot of people realize how something as simple as art and creative expression isn’t easily accessible to everyone. Now that you have explained your nonprofit organization, can you tell us what exactly Afrodiziac by Le Juiceee is?
Juile: I would first say that Afrodiziac is more than a brand, it’s cultural. It’s a holistic approach to life. My slogan is “you can’t get the juice without the squeeze”…
Twila-Amoure: oh wow, I love that saying!
Julie: yes! It basically means that you can’t achieve any goal without putting in the effort and having passion within that effort. I have a real passion for what I do. All my products are truly 100% natural. They are affordable and accessible to my community. More than just a line of Health and Beauty Products, Afrodiziac by Le Juice is a lifestyle.
Twila-Amoure: Tell me what items someone can find within your hair and skin care line.
Julie: Well for hair, there is my oil system. I offer two different oils and they’re both called The Juiceee. There is The Juiceee Conditioning Oil Treatment, which is like a hot oil treatment.
And I also [offer] The Juiceee everyday Oil Blend, which is the essential oil blend. It has every single thing you would want in it and it’s just like a power punch bottle of goodness to rehydrate your hair, no matter what type of hair you have.
It doesn’t have any mineral oils or any extra added nonsense in it so it doesn’t give you that greasy feel. A lot of people say they don’t want to put oils in their hair because it’s already greasy and they don’t want to add more grease. However, with my products, you’re not adding grease you’re adding nutrition. I [offer] hand whipped shea butter. It comes in Nilla Frosting, which literally smells like frosting. It smells like you’re eating a cinna bun, it’s ridiculous!
I just developed a Caribbean Gyal Dem [shea butter], which is more of a tropical smell.
And Oh La Lavender [shea butter] which has a vanilla lavender smell. I also [offer] massage candles. Which are literally candles made with soy wax so when they melt you can use it as a massage oil. [The candles] are really soothing and really good for relaxation.
I just developed chap sticks [and] I call them Lip Juices. I [offer] one that’s made with tea tree [oils] and honey, there’s another one made with nutella. [There’s] one that’s made with sweet orange and lemon called Citrus Ting.
There is a face scrub made with oatmeal and coconut sugar called the GloUp Minty Oats Face Scrub. This face scrub is literally life, it has peppermint in it so when you wash your face with it there’s a tingle. I have a bunch a friends who swear by Lush, but once they started using my facial scrub they were like “this is better than Lush!”
Besides that, I also [offer] soaps, handmade and hand crafted soaps made from scratch.
“Divine” Citrus Lavendor Dead Sea Salt Body Exfoliator
Yes, so that right now is my product line and I’m looking to expand and hopefully have a shampoo and conditioner out by the end of the year or beginning of next year.
Twila-Amoure: That’s a wide variety of products! Do you feel that your product line, as diverse as it is, is also gender friendly?
Julie: Yes! The soaps and the whipped shea butter, the boys love that! Oh, even the face scrubs too! I’m honestly really surprised how many men buy the face scrub but so many men are really into self-care and I’m living for it!
My products are also meant for all hair types, from type 1 all the way to type 4. Even locs, The Juiceee Everyday Oil Blend is perfect for someone with loc’d hair. Even all skin types, my soaps are really good for people with eczema, like the Honey Dipp Soap. It’s made with oatmeal and honey and it’s really great for people with sensitive skin. My products are definitely gender friendly but more than that, they are meant for all ethnicities, all races, and all genders.
Twila-Amoure: I’m so here for the inclusivity of your company! What do you think sets your hair and skin care line apart from others?
Julie: Besides staying true to the [ingredients being] natural, I think the biggest thing would be my target audience. I could price it like $15 for a 2-ounce bottle but again I want to make [my line] accessible, it’s about the message behind the products. I think that’s what makes the difference for the company as a whole. [Also] all products are 100% hand-made by me! I do absolutely everything from start to finish. I package everything, I label everything, and I even design all the product labels. I’m not just trying to sell you a product. I’m trying to sell you a cultural, a piece of the juice so that you can squeeze your own.
Twila-Amoure: People can often feel like the company they shop from don’t really care about them so the fact that you’re working hard to make sure your customers know that you’re for them is amazing! What inspired you to start Afrodiziac by Le Juiceee?
Julie: Oh wow, so this is kind of a long story…
Twila-Amoure: That’s okay!
Julie: So the concept behind Afrodiziac kinda started at Purchase [College]. At Purchase, a major event that the school holds is something called Cultural Shock. Purchase College is a predominantly white school and many students of color always felt that this event didn’t have much cultural, but instead a multitude of other things. A lot of students of color felt like they didn’t have a voice.
While I attended Purchase I was an RA, and as an RA I always strived to be like the pop’n RA. I never wanted to host just regular programs, but instead always wanted to go all out. So me being in my position as an RA I was just like “I’mma do something different” and I held a program that was sort of like a spinoff of Afro-Punk. I came up with the idea of Afrodiziac and it was kinda like an all day festival for Purchase performers, artist, poets, and musicians to be able to have a platform. I started that event about two years ago and this year it won The Outstanding Student Showcase Award and is now an annual event at Purchase.
I always knew I wanted to do something else with the name Afrodiziac… I just didn’t know what. However, what sparked my desire to have my own skin and hair care line was actually an accident. I graduated in January and after that, I was somewhat depressed. My original plan was to attend medical school but then I was like “that’s a flop, I’m not doing that.” I didn’t know what I was going to do with my life, I had no jobs lined up, and I had no sense of direction. I was completely lost.
My last semester of college I straighten my hair, which really damaged it. So during this dark time of my life, I started playing around with self-made hair treatments and making candles as a hobby. One day I decided to do a wash n go and for the first time, I actually noticed how my at-home hair treatments were benefiting my hair. I posted a before and after picture on Instagram and people were commenting asking what did I use and where can they buy it at. So Afrodiziac by Le Juiceee was born!
Twila-Amoure: What would you say is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far within your entrepreneurship journey and how did you overcome it?
Julie: I would definitely say that the biggest challenge was the faith issue; having faith in myself, having faith in Jesus Chris, and having complete faith in my company. It wasn’t until about a month and a half ago that I fully accepted this and was like “this is what I’m supposed to do.” Yes, I went to school and got a degree but I had to realize that I didn’t necessarily have to be in a lab to be fulfilling my chemistry degree. Because I’m doing that chemistry literally in my kitchen. With any business venture there is a huge risk; financial loss, emotion lost, or the other potential lost, such as other jobs I could have possibly gotten. So I would say the biggest challenge I faced was having the faith that I’m on my right path.
How I overcome that was in my prayers, I always ask Christ to shape and mold me into who he wants me to be. However, when that moment comes, when it’s time to be shaped and molded it isn’t always fun and can be uncomfortable. But I just had to trust in my product and trust in my vision. I had to trust that I wasn’t crazy and that there are other people who care about our community just as much as I do. And that’s the whole point of “you can’t get the juice without the squeeze” you have to keep pushing, keeping squeezing in order to unlock the best you!
Twila-Amoure: Speaking of pushing and squeezing, what advice would you give someone who might feel stuck because people are telling them that they can’t do it. How should they go about having faith and trusting in their own vision?
Julie: If you find yourself in a place where it seems like no one is supporting you then you’re on the right path! You have to get to a point where it’s you wanting to do it. Because no matter how much someone may want you to achieve your goals or support you, it’s not going to push you to do what you need to do for you. So take the hate, take the people sip’n on the haterade as proof that you are doing what you need to do. Because they are giving you drive to move forward and prove them wrong. And [the haters] are the confirmation that you are working towards squeezing your own juice out of you!
Twila-Amoure: Going off that last question a little bit; what advice would you give someone who wants to start their own company but for whatever reason is afraid to do so?
Julie: Well number one, you have to believe in the process. The process begins with research and really coming correct with what you’re doing. For example, the Afrodiziac Festival that I did at my university; there is no way they would have allowed me to do it if I didn’t come correct. It’s important to always have a business plan, a plan of action, or something that is physical and not just an idea in your head.
Step two would be to find your tribe. What I mean by this is surround yourself with like-minded individuals, people who have the same drive and passion as you do.
Lastly, step three is to really know yourself and your worth. Know that diamonds aren’t made by laying there and feeling the breeze but instead made by pressure. You have to go through it and it’s going to suck, but the more it sucks the closer you’re getting to reaching your goal. You have to be okay with failing. You are going to fail and you might waste a lot of money. You have to know that is okay because you are investing in your product, your company, or whatever it is you’re trying to do. Learn to take your failures and let them elevate you not bring you down! Allow your failures to inspire you to be more creative not discourage you!
Twila-Amoure: That’s really good advice! I’m sure our readers can learn a lot from what you’re saying. Back to your company, where do you see Afrodiziac by Le Juiceee five years from now?
Julie: Oh, umm…I think big and I wouldn’t be surprised if one day Blue Ivy is using my products! I see Afrodiziac by Le Juiceee continuing to flourish! So far I have gotten positive reviews on it, so in five years I see my company really on its feet. I even see my non-profit organization really taking off as well and making good changes within the community. You know when you have that feeling in your chest where you can’t explain how you know, but you just do? That’s how I feel about my skin care line and my non-profit. I know that literally, the sky’s the limit. With the support and the team that I have behind me, and the Lord by my side, the possibilities are endless!
I had the opportunity to speak with Julie for over an hour and from start, to finish I was truly inspired. The passion she holds for her company and her customers is something you really don’t see any more. When shopping with Afrodiziac by Le Juiceee you can trust that all the products are made with you in mind! This isn’t your average skin and hair company, but instead a whole culture of its own. Afrodiziac by Le Juiceee is here to stay, empower the community, and make sure that “the juice” is available to everyone who truly wants it!
Twila-Amoure McDaniel40 Posts
Twila-Amoure McDaniel is a college student who is majoring in both communications and film studies. When she isn't in class she is more than likely somewhere making videos for her YouTube channel. Her passions include writing, art, and film-making and she currently has plans on going into the film industry. Twila-Amoure does have crohn's disease, however she is very determined not to allow that to stop her from achieving all of her goals in life. Be sure to follow her on all on her social media platforms @TwilaAmoure and feel free to browse through Campus Lately for more of her work.