Many entrepreneurs would hesitate to start a business during a pandemic, but for Austin resident Jemarquis Wright, it was never just about profit.
He originally started making organic soaps to help his daughter deal with skin issues. He and his family started giving soap away to others during the pandemic, and he started selling soap to help offset the costs of making it. He continues to give away soap at events and Wright said that sales have been robust enough to make some profit.
Ultimately, his ambitions for Healthy Clean go beyond making soaps. Wright said that he wanted to devote his life to doing something meaningful and show a good example for his kids. He is gearing up to release a children’s book and children’s songs about healthy living, and is also working with a group of Austin businessmen to set up a permanent location that will distribute free groceries and provide other services.
Wright said that he’s been working and pursuing business opportunities since he graduated high school. Like many entrepreneurs, he launched his own company because he couldn’t find any business that had the products he was looking for.
“The company started because of my daughter,” Wright said. “She had really bad skin, and we couldn’t find a soap that could accommodate her situation. We reached out to the doctor and he suggested looking into an organic soap.”
But the organic soaps on the market were too expensive for his liking, so Wright decided to make them himself. When the pandemic started, his daughter suggested giving the soap away, but that didn’t cover the cost of making the soap. So, in October 2020, he launched the company to sell his soap for profit.
Wright said he didn’t have any kind of start-up funding, loans or grants, but that his relatives have helped him buy supplies such as soap wrappers. He said that he makes the soap with his family’s help.
According to marketing materials, Wright’s products include oatmeal cream, activated charcoal, aloe and olive oil soaps.
Healthy Clean regularly takes part in weekly food and clothing giveaways organized by Temple Baptist Church, 3622 W. Douglas Blvd. The giveaways are held every Monday, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
“We have great reviews, we have repeat customers all the time,” Wright said. “The profit is not like a million dollars, but we’re blessed to be able to meet quotas. We’re not in the red.”
In recent months, Healthy Clean has been expanding beyond soaps. Wright has been posting educational videos featuring his kids on the “Healthy Clean Kids” Youtube channel, and he is working on releasing a children’s book about staying healthy, as well as kids’ songs, under the same label.
He hopes to release both by the end of May.
Wright also said he’s been working with Black Men United, a community service organization founded by Pastor John Harrell, of Maywood’s Proviso Missionary Baptist Church, 1116 S. 5th Ave. The organization has been distributing food, baby supplies and other goods throughout the Chicago area. Wright said that he’s working with Harrell and a group of Austin businessmen to set up a more permanent community service hub near the intersection of Division Street and Austin Boulevard.
“[It will be] a community hub, a house in the community,” he said. “We want to build a garden, we’ll provide jobs, do grocery giveaways and deliver groceries to the elderly in the community.”
Customers can order Healthy Clean products by phone, at (312) 989-9102, by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or through its Facebook (@healthyclean122) and Instagram (@healthy_clean1) pages.