Imagine the beauty of being whisked away overseas to a warmer, sun-kissed location and be teleported away from the winter blues and COVID restrictions. While science is still behind on teleportation devices, BROWN GIRL Jane has created the next best thing with their latest product, an olfactive experience with the Wanderlust Collection. The fragrance trio includes three distinct scents that represent joy, relaxation, and joy all the while taking your mind, body, and spirit to Kenya, Brazil, and Morrocco. Launched on November 18th, the Wanderlust Collection is able to be layered in with all three to create your new signature fragrance and was developed using 25 years of scent science and neuroscience techniques in partnership with Firmenich fragrance house.
“We needed an escape. We were thinking about taking a journey, transporting ourselves all over the world, and how scent has the ability to really transport,” Malaika Jones, CEO and Founder of BROWN GIRL Jane, told ESSENCE. The three scents within the Wanderlust Collection – Lamu, Bahia, and Casablanca – were inspired by some of the founders’ favorite international getaways. “We developed this really beautifully crafted trio as a love letter to all of our Black and brown women across the world who have inspired us and the scents take you there, each with totally different scent profiles. It was just this amazing ability to infuse this wellness component into fragrance and so we’re super excited about that.”
Tai Beauchamp, Co-founder and Chief Brand Officer of BROWN GIRL Jane, chimed into the conversation with Jones and amplified how critical senses are to Black and brown women. “There’s this cultural nuance when we conjure up scents in our life [like] going into your grandmother’s home or walking into school. As we are in this space, this is a time where all of us are desiring new wellness practices to feel safe, to feel secure, to feel transported, and to feel light without stress, because that’s what it is for us. It’s about that anti-stress solution,” Beauchamp said. “Those are real solutions. This is not something that’s esoteric. This is something that you can indulge in and feel great about immediately.”
Ahead, read our conversation with Jones and Beauchamp about the importance of fragrance as part of your self-care and wellness routine, the inception and development of the Wanderlust Collection, and more plans for expansion of the BROWN GIRL Jane empire.
ESSENCE: Scents can have a very nostalgic feel to them and oftentimes, our most precious memories are tied to smells. What are some of your most nostalgic scents?
Tai Beauchamp: One of my most nostalgic scents is my grandmother’s and that feeling of being embraced by her and nestling into her bosom. During this time of year especially, we’re thinking about those moments of security, especially as we want to feel more grounded as the new year comes in and how we build up.
Malaika Jones: My parents actually met and got married in Kenya, and we would visit and go to the shores of the beach. Lamu feels like love. It’s a happy scent but you can smell the shores and it’s super fresh. I’ve tied it to that memory of family as well. Casablanca, which is our sexy, confident scent reminds me of when I first stepped into my own. It just feels like I’m spraying badassery all over and getting a dose of feeling that love.
ESSENCE: What’s the importance of a signature fragrance in your day-to-day beauty routine?
Beauchamp: I have now multiple signature fragrances because it is about how I want to feel. I use my fragrances to not only present a mood but to evoke a mood, both for myself. There’s a presentation to the world, but it first starts with how I’m feeling or how I want to feel in that moment. There are days that Casablanca, if I do say so, is my absolute favorite because I’m more of a sultry type person anyway. There are other times when I just want it to be easy. It plays an important part in my day. I wear Bahia when I’m hiking because that’s my thing while I’m hiking.
Jones: For so long, I think we’ve seen scent as something for other people to experience about us. What is going to make you most attractive to this person, or smell like this in this scenario? It really does start with yourself and how you want to feel and how you want to show up. I am a layering girl over here. The combination of Bahia and Lamu is just amazing. It’s fresh, it’s uplifting while still remaining grounded so it’s not too much, and it’s just beautiful. We are really intentional about building the collection to be layered so that there are so many combinations of how you can smell and feel. There are these three standalones, but together there are so many combinations that can allow you to have a number of signature scents depending on how you’re feeling, or how you’d like to feel, at the moment.
ESSENCE: With Thanksgiving passing and Christmas right around the corner, what are some of your favorite holiday smells?
Beauchamp: Because of the holidays, we’ve always just thought about pine trees and that sort of thing, but I won’t be getting that because I’m in LA. I’m going to wear Lamu on the shore of the beach; I’m going to wear a Lamu on the coast of Los Angeles; I’m going to go down to Malibu or to Santa Monica and spray Lamu. I have to create new scent experiences for the holidays now that I’m in Los Angeles because all of the traditional holiday experiences for me were so connected to the East Coast, like snow – and thank God I don’t have that.
Jones: It’s always the convening and gathering of people. That includes the food that’s being cooked by my mother and it includes grandmothers and aunts and how they smell when they come to you because it invokes such a memory. But I’m going to piggyback on Tai because I am leaning into that Lamu life for the winter. I don’t know if I’ll be able to take a vacation, but it’ll transport me to those beaches with a few sprays. That is my goal for the winter. Let’s go for the beach and let’s do Lamu.
Beauchamp: This fragrance launch is revolutionary and we’ll have even more interesting news as we develop our retail partners and our retail strategy for the fragrance we’re launching now on our site. There will be expansion at the top of the year. We’re also excited about just making sure that all of the BROWN GIRL Janes and our tribe members out there feel centered. We want to touch her in ways that she hasn’t imagined around her wellness journey and make sure it’s a multisensory experience. Let’s just say we have her whole body on lock.
Jones: What we’ve learned from listening to our tribe is that wellness will never just be one thing. Our goal is to make sure that whatever is in your toolkit, we’re helping you arm yourself with things that just reduce your stress and make you feel better, more elevated while being grounded and again, rooted in science. It’s exciting to have that wellness forward approach across categories and break it out of these silos that it’s been in for far too long because I want my fragrance to have a wellness component.
I want my beauty care, my skincare, all of these sort of things to do more than one thing and to have those anti-stress solutions. The way that we’re approaching the wellness conversation and the wellness solutions on the product side is revolutionary and disruptive. That is how we look ahead – how can we meet our Janes where they are, and provide real solutions in fun, disruptive ways and make your days and nights even better? Lots, lots, lots, lots to come!
ESSENCE: Why is it important for Black and brown girls to normalize self-care as part of their wellness routines to amplify their mental health?
Beauchamp: It’s essential. Normalizing self-care for us is so critical. Black and brown women, as we know, are the largest demographic of entrepreneurs and creating businesses. We’re busier than ever. Here in the United States, we’re also the community that gets the least amount of sleep. Sleep and rest are foundational for wellness. If we’re going to continue to chart the paths in the courses that we do, turning elections, leading industry, directing commerce and opportunities there, and obviously building families and communities, we have to prioritize our wellness. It is essential for us to do it in order to perform. For us at BROWN GIRL Jane, knowing that we want to be the go-to, we see ourselves already as the go-to and we want to continue to provide solutions for her so that she feels empowered to go do all of the badass things that she does in the world every single day.
Jones: For far too long, we’ve worn a badge of honor around doing everything and being everything to everyone. While that sometimes can be our superpower because we are so transformational in any space we’re in, we also have to fill our own cups because what it’s leading to at the end of the day is that we’re depleted and we’re not giving ourselves what we need to be our highest selves. That’s why we started this company was really to provide those solutions where there were none and center ourselves in our tribe, in these conversations. To do the work that we’re all doing, we need to take care of ourselves. We have to take care of ourselves. We’re really grateful and honored to be a part of the solutions for these women who we care so deeply about, who are doing so many amazing things in all of the spaces.