The All-Natural Solution: How Janette Madlock-Dent Solved a Pressing Health Problem With Jus4Us
We never know how many people we may end up helping, and connecting with, when we work to bring our ideas and passions to life.
Janette Madlock-Dent launched a revolutionary all-natural hair and skincare company because of a personal need. She suffered a head injury while serving in the military which later caused debilitating migraines, and had to do something about them. Researching the subject, Janette discovered that chemicals in hair and skincare products, like the ones she used, could exacerbate migraines.
Knowing this, she decided to run a test: give her hair a fresh, chemical-free start. This meant cutting all of it off. After crossing that Rubicon, Janette started using natural products. Not all was improved: these natural products had the same harsh chemicals.
“I did a little bit more research,” Janette said, “and found that for a product to be titled as ‘natural’, the base can be natural, and that could just simply be the water that is used to actually start making it. So I prayed about it, and did a little bit more research, and Jus4Us was born.”
Thus, a need was discovered for which the market held inadequate solutions, and Janette began developing a new product to fill in the gap. An entrepreneurial story was unfolding – and it started close-to-home.
Grassroots Networking, Research
Janette had a pressing need, but how would she go about answering it? That is, how does an entrepreneur start at square one?
This post is part of a series for AccelerateDFW's Storytelling initiative. For more insights on entrepreneurs in DFW and beyond, visit the Storytelling page.
Janette explained, “I've never run a company, I've never done anything business related, other than worked in the bank and customer service and a loan department. But so far as running a business, never. It was merely prayer, friends and family support … and research.”
Indeed, the whole enterprise has been bootstrapped from the beginning. Along with this, Janette’s friends and family have helped Jus4Us financially and with marketing. Janette’s adoptive mom, for example, promotes Jus4Us via apparel and the products themselves:
“She supports me even from her her wheel chair in her nursing facility,” said Janette, “because she's always sharing about my products. She wears my T-shirt, she wears the mask, and when the workers there actually comb her hair or shampoo her hair they experience my products because I make sure that they use those chemical-free products on my mom.”
Janette’s biological mother, whom she discovered three years ago, also supports her at her place of employment.
This word-of-mouth through personal networks was also the basis for Janette’s initial market research.
“Back in 2017,” Janette said, “our research and development started with me just asking friends and family, ‘I'm making this product, I've been using it for a while, would you mind trying it? It's working for me and my hair, and I haven't had an asthma attack since I stopped using these perfume-filled products, do you mind trying it?’ So everything was basically trial and error, a lot of different formulations until I got the one that actually worked.”
To hear more about the inspiration behind Jus4Us and some advice from Janette, give the accompanying podcast a listen!
In addition to growth via word-of-mouth, Jus4Us also expanded into retail outlets. Market opportunities allowed Janette to sell her products on new platforms. She started at the Pan African Connection, a store in Dallas, via their twice-a-month Ubuntu Market program.
When the covid-19 pandemic hit, Janette adapted her networking to new channels. “I took to social media,” Janette said. “I just started doing my hair different styles on Facebook and people started following me and, there again, word of mouth.”
Janette’s early marketing efforts were through friends and family, and Jus4Us grew from there, without being slowed by the pandemic. This success is because of Janette’s initiative and innovation, two keys for entrepreneurial success.
Primed for Perseverance
As we’ve learned in past Storytelling entries, hardship experienced while growing up can make entrepreneurs more adaptive to the rejection, struggles, and challenges of entrepreneurial life. Janette endured difficult experiences growing up, all starting from abandonment at birth.
As Janette said, “I'm a mom, I'm a divorcee, a survivor of domestic abuse, a survivor of sexual violence. I am a survivor of homelessness – I was homeless … [a] disabled veteran, homeless. The VA system failed me in that I didn't know anything about the resources or anything like that, so I am a true survivor … everything that I've experienced in life to … the point where I started Jus4Us prepared me for the rejection that I received.”
This thick skin and persistence kept Janette from giving up, and she discovered latent opportunities. One of them is her favorite customer, someone it took Janette multiple times to break through to.
“One of my favorite customers, her name is Regina Brown, she told me ‘no’ seven times at seven different events,” Janette said. “And one day, at a cheer event or dance event competition … she said, ‘You know what, I'm going to give you a try, because every time I see you you treat me the same, you ask me the same question, and you explain your product to me.’ She is one of my faithful customers. ever since she said ‘yes’.”
Persistence led to a breakthrough with a customer. Such mettle is required from day one for the entrepreneur. It requires high levels of commitment and persistency to succeed in founding and running ones’ own business. A life spent with challenge can meld one into a more effective business owner.
Earning the Reward
So with all this difficulty, where is the reward? Why be an entrepreneur?
Janette’s reward has been customer feedback. She has seen her products solve other people’s problems, one case at a time, one day at a time. The validation that comes from this is exhilarating.
As Janette said, “I’m a people person and I love to help people, so helping others is what I do. And when you have hair loss, and when you have skin irritations, and they’re actually visual, most of the time you suffer low self-esteem because of that. So I would like to say that … having the products applied one person at a time, one day at a time, building self-esteem from the outside in has been the most rewarding [part] for me.”
The health problems Jus4Us helps with are numerous, beyond just migraines. Customers suffering with alopecia, psoriasis or eczema on their scalp have texted Janette that her products have started healing their condition. This attests to the relevance of such products in the market.
Just For Others
Janette’s entrepreneurial journey won’t stop with Jus4Us. She plans future philanthropic work. One of her callings is to assist homeless veterans:
“I have a nonprofit, Heroes Haven, I would like to have that within four walls, where we go out and we feed the homeless, but I would like to do a little bit more. I would like to be a resource center … in Fort Worth. And I understand some of the veterans want to remain homeless because that's what is comfortable for them, but I would like to be a resource center for them to come and take a shower, get a hot meal and go back out if they choose to [.]”
And to up-and-coming entrepreneurs, Janette has a powerful, yet simple message:
“Find a problem, an issue, and solve it. And do it to the best of your ability.”
That’s what Janette set out to do, and that’s how she found success. As her story demonstrates, the problem you seek to solve could lead to a solution that can help many problems across people’s lives. You never know how many people you may help.
Note: The quotations may have been edited for grammatical purposes and to remove chit-chat phrases ("you know", etc.) or repeated words ("and, and", etc.). The audio in the podcast may have also been edited to remove chit-chat phrases, repeated words or long periods of silence.