How Brown Girl Jane Built an Impact-Driven Wellness Brand Online
In just one year, Brown Girl Jane has revolutionized the wellness industry and developed several plant-based products. They’ve been featured in 40+ major publications, recognized by Beyoncé’s Black Parade and lauded by Halle Berry.
In November 2020, we had the chance to meet Brown Girl Jane’s founders. We discussed how the luxury CBD online store became an eCommerce powerhouse, their mission and where they’re going next.
Watch Brown Girl Jane’s Wix Best Sellers interview. Then, check out their eCommerce success story and expert business tips below.
Founding a business trifecta
Brown Girl Jane’s founding team combines their expertise in finance, the beauty industry and cause-related work to guide every aspect of their business.
“I am probably the most unlikely wellness founder you’ll ever meet,” says Jones Kebede. After a 15 year high-octane career as a Wall Street bond trader, she suffered a spinal injury after the birth of her third child. While researching alternative treatments, she discovered CBD (cannabidiol), a hemp-derived, non-hallucinogenic ingredient. In the last few years, CBD-infused products like skincare and candles have grown into a multimillion-dollar industry.
“I am probably the most unlikely wellness founder you’ll ever meet.”
“During and after my recovery, I became an evangelist for plant-based wellness and beauty,” explains Jones Kebede. She realized the wellness industry was ignoring a key market—women of color who were constantly juggling, in their personal lives and careers. “There was a huge opportunity to introduce a collection that would help them achieve clarity, sleep better, and even have glowing skin,” she says.
At that point, she approached her sister, Nia Jones. Jones had been running a philanthropic foundation for one of the largest insurance companies in the U.S. She joined the team as Chief Impact Officer, directing proceeds from each sale to organizations like Black Women’s Health Imperative. Today, the company leads Brown Girl Swap, a global pledge to support Black women-owned businesses.
The final member of the trifecta is Tai Beauchamp, the Joneses' friend from Spelman College. Beauchamp had been an entrepreneur, producer, television host, content creator and beauty editor at publications like Harper’s Bazaar, Seventeen and The Oprah Magazine. In 2019 alone, she traveled 180 days out of the year with little regard for her own self care. Trying early samples of Brown Girl Jane’s CBD daily drops helped change that for her. With a passion for the product, the brand mission and her background in media and beauty, Beauchamp joined as Chief Brand Officer.
“We went on this journey to fill a void in the market, and create a tribe that supports one another in community and in commerce,” says Beauchamp.
Creating a business with Wix eCommerce
The team created a Wix store to sell CBD online at the start of 2020. Thanks to Jones Kebede’s business background, they smoothly navigated the multitude of financial and legal regulations around how to sell CBD in the U.S.
Jones Kebede started designing Brown Girl Jane’s eCommerce site with a chic online store template. Since then, she’s been experimenting with Wix’s eCommerce features, like the on-site rewards program, coupons, abandoned carts recovery automations, email marketing tools and a blog. “As a D2C business, it’s been crucial for us to connect with our tribe members via our own store on Wix,” says Beauchamp.
“The more your tribe feels seen, the easier it is to navigate. The quicker it is to check out,” says Kebede Jones. “Having direct-to-consumer tools in place is at the core of our business.”
The team also depends on valuable customer insights from their Wix Analytics Reports. “We dig into those analytics,” says Jones Kebede, “to see how people found Brown Girl Jane, what they do when they visit our site, where they come from and how many returning customers we have.”
Their sourcing and fulfillment process spans from farms in Colorado and Kentucky, to bottling and lab-testing in Utah, to a third-party fulfillment center in New Jersey. Customers receive each order in branded Brown Girl Jane-packaging, complete with illustrations, textured boxes and rose-gold accents. “Our packaging purposely reflects the community of beautiful women we center,” says Jones Kebede.
"There are always so many moving parts to Brown Girl Jane, which is wonderful, but it also keeps us on our toes."
Throughout the fulfillment process, the Brown Girl Jane team manages orders from their Wix store dashboard. “Wix makes it seamless to incorporate every part of our supply chain, from customer purchase to fulfillment,” says Jones Kebede. "There are always so many moving parts to Brown Girl Jane, which is wonderful, but it also keeps us on our toes." When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the business was already set up to fulfill D2C online orders, and their campaign for wellness became even more relevant.
Hypergrowth in less than a year
Brown Girl Jane’s success story took off with what they describe as a series of “pinch me” moments. The first came when their entire collection was purchased by a subscription box service. The next, with the success of their IGTV interview series, “You Good Sis?”, featuring thought-leading women of color like Yolanda Adams and Estelle. Then, major retailers like Nordstrom started purchasing Brown Girl Jane products for distribution.
“To see our growth and to have the opportunity to track that through the Wix dashboard is really quite amazing.”
“We’ve seen exponential growth in the past six months in terms of sales, traffic and press,” Jones says. The three elements power each other—the more press Brown Girl Jane receives, the more traffic they receive, along with sales.
“In less than a year, we have grown to see six-figure revenue per month on Wix.”
The Brown Girl Jane team has seen a 2-3x increase in revenue month over month. Today, the company has experienced six-figure monthly sales. And they still get excited every time they receive a Wix app sale notification.
“When we first started, we were patiently waiting for that first sale,” says Jones Kebede. “But it’s still just as exciting now when they come in multiple times a day. To see our growth and to have the opportunity to track that through the Wix dashboard is really quite amazing.”
The three co-founders live between London and Los Angeles and in Washington, D.C., and their team members are located across the U.S. Even before the pandemic, they worked remotely 90% of the time and collaborated efficiently with contributor roles and permissions on their Wix site.
Near or far, Jones Kebede says the founders’ bond fuels their growth: “Growing a business with two women who I absolutely love and adore and respect has been the honor of my life.”
Revolutionizing the plant-based wellness industry
Brown Girl Jane products are meant to integrate easily into customers’ everyday lives, like drops that can be blended into a morning smoothie. “Accessibility is at the core, both in terms of price and ease of use,” Beauchamp says. “Even with the highest level of ingredients and grade in our products, we are competitively priced.”
CBD wellness is still fairly new to consumers, so Brown Girl Jane educates through their site. “A big part of what we do is demystifying the cannabis plant,” says Jones Kebede. They maintain transparency with a list of ingredients on every product page, and keep customers informed with their educational lifestyle blog.
“Accessibility is at the core, both in terms of price and ease of use.”
Even the best CBD websites face a unique challenge: social media platforms like Facebook and Google often reject advertising for CBD products. Brown Girl Jane circumvents the need for social advertising with creative marketing solutions, like leveraging press coverage and their tribe of customers to spread the word.
“We don't want to leave this industry the same,” says Beauchamp.” We want to make an indelible mark, not only on the industry, but on the lives of the people that we're able to touch.”
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Tova is a content marketer with a passion for compelling business stories. Perhaps more obsessively than others, she watches the Super Bowl for the ads.