When Jaz Jackson was diagnosed with clinical depression in 2012, she began exploring the various treatment options available. While on that journey, however, the Chicago native discovered that medication wasn’t the only answer for her.
“I went through many different ups and downs with the type of medications that I would take,” Jackson tells Yahoo Life. “But my doctor did tell me that a way for me to combat my depression was to go through a holistic approach, and so what I decided to do was to work out.”
Jackson added meditation, journaling and dietary changes to her daily routine, evolving into what she describes as a “gym rat,” working out six days a week, twice a day, and ultimately shedding 50 pounds.
“I did not wake up and lose 50 pounds, you know, by doing some fad diet,” Jackson says. “It took me well over a year.”
It was during those long, sweaty hours at the gym when Jackson realized that the existing market of fitness belts — also known as waist trainers, which aim to cinch a person’s waistline and provide support — didn’t provide anything with enough comfortable back support or coverage for her ample curves.
So in 2017, the one-time YouTube influencer decided to fill in the gap by launching her own fitness apparel line, calling it JSculpt Fitness, offering a fitness belt that would satisfy curvy girl needs.
“JSculpt Fitness is a fitness apparel line…and what we launched was called the JSculpt Fitness Belt. It looks similar to what the industry calls a waist trainer,” Jackson explains. “As a Black woman, we love to keep our curves and keep our figures…same thing for Latina women. And so I wanted to provide something that spoke to that, but was still safe to wear.”
While JSculpt Fitness was founded with the needs of women of color in mind, today the brand boasts a loyal, multi-cultural following that Jackson is proud to serve with a safe fitness space.
“We have amassed close to 300,000 followers on Instagram, and we really have like a tight-knit community of like-minded women who want to learn and grow within the health world or health industry,” she says. “We are a true community of what we love to call our ‘JSculpt Babes.’”
Jackson, who does not have a degree in business, started JSculpt Fitness without any financial backing, and continues to grow the now multi-million dollar company solo. “When I started JSculpt, I did my little prayer and I said, you know, ‘God, if I could just make $5,000 a month, I’ll be just fine.’ And three years later, you know, we are a multi-million dollar company and I could not be more happy,” Jackson says.
In addition to the original fitness belt, which is still the top seller, the line now offers additional accessories including a popular reversible belt, an adjustable resistance band and a drench cream. But what Jackson is especially proud of is her all-inclusive apparel, currently in production.
“We have a size range from extra small to 4X. We are just speaking to, you know, the everyday woman, the woman that loves to wear athleisure,” she says.
As savvy as she may be Jackson says that running a successful business isn’t without its challenges. Last April, JSculpt Fitness received over one million dollars in orders at the height of the pandemic — a record-breaking moment for the company, but one that caught her off-guard with the unexpected influx of sales from people who suddenly had more time to workout. It’s a mistake Jackson says she won’t make again.
“I decided to make sure that we were always fully in stock,” Jackson says. “I’d rather have a ton of inventory on hand than not, and not give my customers the experience that they deserve.”
Building a brand based on good customer service and making sure that she gives back to her JSculpt Babes is key to Jackson’s business model — as is being a quiet source of inspiration.
“When I decided to battle my depression and I decided to wake up every day, six days a week, and go to the gym and I decided to tell my story, that wasn’t for me, that was for other women to see themselves within me — to get up and want to make change within themselves,” Jackson says. “And so by being a servant in that way, I could not have asked for a better role.”
Business in Black is Yahoo Life’s new video series spotlighting Black-owned businesses.
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