It was the 2003/04 academic year when I met Dana Andrews. It was her first day at a new school and I was one of the first persons to speak with her and make her feel comfortable.
Though we were not close, we remained friendly and courteous throughout our high school career. At one point, during our pre-university days, we made up a small group of Wolmer’s girls who went to the United Nations HQ. We were part of a bigger Jamaican contingent of young ambassadors.
We had some fun together. We parted ways and never really kept in touch.
A few years ago, however, we found each other on social media. I found out that she had a business. Recently though, I learned that the business is owned by Dana and her husband, Lespaul. How awesome is that?! A power team – an entrepreneurial couple. Young, gifted and black.
I spoke with them about two months ago and got the inside scoop about them and their products. Here’s some of what I captured.
You have to be your own #1 fan
In the average Jane and Joe daytime – Lespaul works as a Management Consultant and Dana, as a Social Worker in the Pediatric Clinic. But when they take those hats off, their lab coats go on.
In 2017, the couple founded Àse BodyCare.
After uncovering the levels of toxicity within the products they either used or that were general products in the hair and body care market, the couple’s interest in natural and safe alternatives increased.
Before officially launching, they had an extensive 6 month period of testing to determine what works, what triggers allergies and what needed more work. (By the way, Dana and Lespaul shared that testing is a continuous process as they aim to improve their products and introduce new items in their stock).
Their test participants were friends, family and themselves.
The desire to create healthier products for themselves and the niche market did not happen by chance. Both Dana and Lespaul are health conscious in their day to day lives. Les does Mixed Martial Arts, Thai Kickboxing, he frequents the gym and he is vegetarian. Dana is involved in Thai Kickboxing and though she isn’t a proclaimed vegetarian, her diet is almost identical to that of her husband.
Les started his journey to improved health after a friend transitioned into veganism. He was well aware of non-communicable diseases in the black community and did not want to become that kind of statistic. So, he immersed himself in the relevant literature and watched documentaries about healthier alternatives and what an unhealthy lifestyle can do. He expressed that embarking on the journey wasn’t a difficult one but the journey itself was somewhat challenging. He admits that before becoming a vegetarian, he was a pescetarian.
We wanted our business to be true to who we are as individuals and also as a team. Based on that desire, we strategically chose a name, colour scheme and logo that we thought was suitable.
Origins of Àse BodyCare
The business name and design was a mixture of ideas from the husband and wife team.
The word ‘Àse’, pronounced as ‘a-shay’, is a Yoruban word which means power, command and authority. Saying the word after a statement invokes a manifestation of what one says. Essentially – word, sound = power. It is important to note that the use of ‘Àse’ is connected with positive vibes and energies.
It is with that background that Lespaul named the business.
We are a natural products business and so shades of the earth tones green and gold were important in selection.
The logo has the ever majestic elephant as homage to Dana being of Indian descent and the elephants being symbolic to the culture. Simple research will reveal that elephants symbolise – among other attributes – power, success, wisdom and strength.
The colour scheme? It is black, green and gold – which unintentionally also pays homage to Jamaica, Dana’s birth country.
We tested for 6 months with ourselves, friends and family. Our aim is to ensure that our customers get the highest quality product that suits their needs. So initial testing and continued testing is part of our business practice.
2017 to 2019
The couple reports having a 300% growth in clientele, an increase in brand awareness and continued reach through participation in expos and hair shows.
Some of their products can now be found through Naturalista Daily in Atlanta. The deodorant, tooth powder, hair growth oil and face masque are stocked!
Team Àse is working with a distributor to hopefully be found in local stores in Jamaica. So, if all goes well, the products should be here soon! – I am rather excited about this –
Like many people I know, poor customer service has become an experience reminiscent of a stain that you can’t get out. However, my experience with Àse and reviews that I’ve heard and seen do nothing but praise the products and the team. During my interview with the couple, Lespaul said:
We are big on customer service and that includes our products, our packaging and how we treat our customers.
I can attest to that. My Àse experience (which happened long before this feature was even an idea) was very pleasant.
The products include:
Àse BodyCare Products
Hair Growth Oil
DIY Turmeric and Charcoal Face Masque
Mineralising Tooth Powder
Hair Hydrating Spray
Body Sugar Scrub
Shampoo and Conditioner (recently launched products)
Hair Growth Oil
You can shop their products on the Àse BodyCare website!
The Newtons have a broad scope of customers for their body care business. When I asked them about their views on inclusivity with their brand and products, the Àse team shared that their customers range from the young to old, it transcends genders and races.
The cherry on top is that their products, which are hand made and exquisitely packaged, are inexpensive.
I have used their hair growth oil and one of their body sugar scrubs. Let me tell you, my hair smelled good and it grew an extra few inches for the time that I used the oil. The scrub had me loving on myself a bit more than I usually do.
As a sucker for packaging, I was pretty pleased. I could tell that someone took time out to put the products together for me. I also got a handwritten note. Like, come on!!
We are big on black-owned companies. So we support others and we welcome support for ourselves. Without collaborations and partnerships, we won’t get very far.
Team Àse sees themselves as being major players in the beauty industry. As they spread their wings by expanding their product line and participating in countless beauty expos across the United States of America, Dana and Lespaul have big dreams and high hopes.
And, in my humble opinion, I don’t see why they can’t see their biggest dreams come to life. As I interviewed them, I sensed their passion and their drive. They believe in their brand and their products. The couple works hard and they work to achieve nothing but the best.
After all, I’d expect nothing less from my Wolmerian sister and her husband.
Their ultimate goal?
We strive to become the next black-owned Johnson and Johnson. We want to be a brand that customers trust
Words to aspiring business owners
Don’t be afraid. You won’t know what you have until you try. – Dana
Take that leap! – Lespaul
Test your products before selling. Ask the persons in your support group to help. – Dana
Be patient with yourself. – Lespaul
Do your research – The Newtons
Lespaul and Dana Newton are scientists in their own right. After our interview, I likened them in part to Sir Issac Newton who is known primarily as the man who discovered gravity. It also helps that the entrepreneurial couple shares Sir Issac’s surname.
Issac Newton is said to have repeated the following words, “Plato is my friend, Aristotle is my friend but my best friend is truth” – and honestly, all puns are intended when I say they are the truth.
As a team, the Newtons follow a project management technique that the gods smile on – they:
- Get Reviews
- Monitor and Evaluate
- Get Reviews
Often seen in their lab coats while representing the Àse BodyCare brand, Dana and Lespaul solidify their image as the scientists: creators and testers of their natural hand made body care products.
The business isn’t just about making money. If it was, The Newtons wouldn’t lead the healthy lifestyle that they do. They care about health and wellness and they want to impart healthy lifestyle practices through the use of all-natural products.
The products embody their tagline: Pure | Handcrafted |Inclusive
In my humble point of view, the couple has more growth and success coming their way.
Find Àse BodyCare at:
Instagram: Àse BodyCare (ah*shay)
Facebook: ÀSE BodyCare