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Created initially as a means of curing the eczema of her five young children which started on their skin and also resulted in severe dryness of their hair, Louisiana’s own Janell Stephens has built a world wide brand that is only getting better with time.
The Black Wall Street Times met with Janell, the CEO, founder, and master mixtress of Camille Rose during Essence Festival in New Orleans and spoke afterwards about what sets her brand apart from the rest.
Born in Morgan City, Louisiana, Janell has morphed Camille Rose into a multi-million dollar company with legions of fans, throngs of supporting retailers and groundbreaking partnerships. (And she throws an excellent cocktail party.)
“It’s not just about the product,” said Janell Stephens. “We create experiences.”
After toasting to Black Excellence in a room full of like-minded doers, Janell explained what she does is bigger than herself, reflected in part by the Janell Ennis Stephens Foundation which supports women and families in need.
The foundation’s mission is based on positively affecting the lives of families, particularly single mothers, who are striving to succeed in business or simply working hard to provide for their family.
As the daughter and granddaughter of self-made men from Morgan City, Louisiana, Janell remembers, “entrepreneurship was always very important and being able to do for yourself and offer something of value to our community was big to me. And I don’t care if it’s ten dollars or $100, once you do it on your own, it becomes addictive.”
Though she’s well-known for creating highly-acclaimed products around the globe today, Janell says her quest for a natural lifestyle has been in the works for years.
“I stopped eating meat 17 years ago after reading Skinny B***h. I just wanted a healthier way of living with food and products that were more natural and organic. My husband is an oncologist too. And I was a new mom so I wanted my entire family to be better. It was all a path set by God to get me healthy,” said Janell.
With a simple cup of Americana coffee for breakfast, Janell grinds each morning to give back to the very culture which has supported Camille Rose since day one. “I think it’s important that we are included in everything that our culture needs and uses,” she offered.
“We need to be able to speak for ourselves and voice what we need,” said Janell.
She elaborated, “That’s why Fenti Beauty is super successful, because they took into consideration different skin tones and types. We’re able to serve our community in our own way. In order for more people like us to create and provide service to our community, we have to support one another.”
Not only does Janell believe this in theory but she actively practices collaboration with other Black entrepreneurs.
A sharer of light, Janell offered her spotlight and the microphone to other phenomenal Black women after the toast, effortlessly demonstrating the collaboration and camaraderie that exists between sisters.
You can find Camille Rose in over 300,000 locations
In 2012, Camille Rose transcended the online retail space when the products became available at over 100 Target stores nationwide after a chance meeting with a Target buyer at a gifting event.
A plethora of retailers followed suit with the brand now being available for purchase in over 300,000 total locations in national retail chains including Ulta, Walmart, Bed Bath & Beyond, Sally’s Beauty, Whole Foods, Walgreens and CVS locations to name a very select few throughout the US.
On a global platform the brand has launched around the world including the UK, Africa, Brazil, and Ireland to name a select few countries.
Though the recognition and success which comes along with the years of hard work have settled in, Janell remembers, “The growth surprised me. So many people were receptive to what we were doing, loving my formulas and what I had to offer.”
Premiering at the upcoming Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival on August 5, the documentary ‘Handcrafted with Love’ will detail the story of Camille Rose even further.
“I wanted to highlight other people who had similar beginnings as mine.” Janell continued, “I’m excited to see how people will receive it.”