Small business woman harnesses the magical powers of ganja
The St Mary Agricultural Show may have proven to be the ideal opportunity for aesthetician Roxanne Harrison to appeal to sun-soaked patrons to improve their beauty treatments.
Harrison operates a holistic business, Coconut Creationz, a beauty care line that includes cannabis-infused products crafted for adults and children.
Focused on removing the perception of marijuana as a drug to get high on or the dark film cast over the eyes of Jamaicans that marijuana is only synonymous to the view of a "boy pon the corner a rub him hand miggle", Harrison wants to revolutionise the beauty industry in Jamaica.
"Ganja has always been a part of what I do, ganja is like my baby. We have a sativa line of products, a Yoni-steam herbal pack, cannabis oil and, of course, a very wicked cannabis rum scrub, for a very nice bathroom experience. Cannabis in skincare has a whole lot of benefits. It's an anti-inflammatory agent, so it is recommended for persons with eczema and acne as well," Harrison told THE STAR.
She was among the persons who displayed products at the event held on the grounds of the Gray's Inn Sports Complex last Monday.
Her journey into the beauty industry started a little over eight years ago, after completing her athletic training and rehabilitation degree at the G.C. Foster College in St Catherine. She secured employment at a spa in the capital city, exposing herself to beauty treatments and what she deems the recreational wellness industry.
Needless to say, the 33-year-old fell in love with the craft and decided to get certified at the Spa Institute as an aesthetician. She said that pushed her to start making her own soaps after she realised that there was an under-supply of organic Jamaican products in the marketplace.
"I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to make products for myself and for others that were healthy and you didn't have to be questioning the ingredients. It would be things you already knew and these would be from farm to skin," the entrepreneur said.
Harrison, who grew up in Rose End, St Mary, said that coconut oil and milk form the base of the natural soaps she formulated. She also utilised other natural ingredients such as coffee, charcoal, garlic, moringa and turmeric. While she did not struggle with the common skincare issues, Harrison is diagnosed with endometriosis, ovarian cysts and fibroids and attests that marijuana is her saving grace.
"I had really awful periods," she said. "When I was introduced to cannabis and Yoni steaming, I realised that I had some relief. Years after, when I started in the field of aesthetics, I did additional studies and research to find out why this helped me and what were the benefits. I eventually fell in love with cannabis when I realised what a powerful herb it was, even though there is controversy surrounding its legality in the country. But, hands down, I think cannabis is the most amazing herb," the mother of two shared with the news team.
Since the Cabinet's announcement to decriminalise marijuana in April 2015, there has been greater advocacy to legalise the plant. Harrison believes that while small progress is being made, more can be done with cannabis research and its inclusion in Jamaica's beauty industry.
"Cannabis, ganja, the good ol' sensimena, Kush, whatever name you want to put to it, but cannabis sativa, it has been making waves globally in the skincare industry. Locally, I do know that there are people making ganja soaps and there are companies making ganja oil. But, so far, the emphasis seems to be on the herb houses and providing medicinal marijuana and different vaping and smoking experiences," she said.
Further, Harrison reasoned that, if the cannabis industry was more open to facilitating discussions with stakeholders in the skincare industry, a huge impact would be made.