Fri | Nov 16, 2018

Sophi Lawrence: Divinely ordained to excel

Published:Sunday | July 8, 2018 | 12:00 AMRocheda Bartley
Sophia Lawrence
Sophia Lawrence
Sophia Lawrence
Sophia Lawrence
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​There's absolutely no limit in what we can achieve. Surely, we'll have challenges, which undeniably many of us discern as reasons to hold our dreams captive. However, dreaming is believing and if we can envision it, then we can definitely achieve it. This is the golden philosophy that kept Sophia Lawrence going - a booming Jamaican entrepreneur who's winning in the global arena.

Today, she owns a five year old cosmetic brand. She calls it the Kingdom Royale Hair -N- Body line and prides it as divinely inspired.

Singing her own praises, Lawrence explained to Outlook, that her mother is her prime motivator and has profoundly inspired her to be the regal entrepreneur she is.

"My mother made me feel that I would be the one to make her proud. She always told me that I should be a star in her crown, and that made me feel like royalty," she said.

She grew up in Kingston as the youngest child in a single-parent home. Her mother was the head and her father who was always abroad, rarely visited. Sometimes he returned only once per year. Lawrence revealed that her childhood was rough and watching her mother struggling to put food on the table on a meagre domestic helper's salary, was far from comforting.

"My father took care of me to the best of his ability, but he had other children. But I'm glad he filed for me so that I could get an education to help my mother," Lawrence noted.

In 1985, Lawrence migrated to the United States, a year after graduating from Meadowbrook high. Soon, she enrolled in City College of New York.

Lawrence did not always bare entrepreneurial eyes. As a child, she dreamt of becoming a paediatric nurse. But that vision was compromised when she failed to meet the necessary academic requirements. With professional help, she sought a different avenue. Now, in hindsight, she has found this choice to be more fulfilling.

"My counsellor and I had a deep conversation about why I wanted to get into nursing. I told her I wanted to work with children and she introduced me to various fields in which I would still be able to work with them. I am glad because I get a better gratification, knowing that I am able to move children in a cognitive level," she testified.

She focused on special education, and in 1993, she graduated with a bachelor's in psychology. Her career kicked off immediately. In her initial years of teaching, she also worked as a nurse's aide, just in case teaching failed.

 

FOND OF TEACHING

 

As the years elapsed, she grew founder of teaching. She resigned as an aide five years later, with the aim to focus entirely on teaching. And in 1998 she embarked on a mission to further sharpen her skills.

"My greatest accomplishments occurred between 1998 and 2002. I went back to college and completed two masters degrees in education. And in April 2002, one month before I graduated with my second masters, I gave birth to the joy of my life, my son Tyler," she said.

She has held a number of positions in the educational sphere, namely, dean, academy leader, technology coach, director, and assistant principal.

After 16 years of teaching, she decided to try something new. Hair products became her novel love.

"I had long locks and after 15 years, the doctor told me I had to cut them because they were destroying my hair follicles. After one year of procrastinating, I transitioned to a big chop. This fired up my motivation to create products that would nurture my hair back to good health."

In 2013, she experimented with a few items, some from her kitchen and others from the store. The result was more than she had imagined. She had struck gold.

Now, she has 13 products circulating on the international market. These include cold-pressed body butter-soufflÈ, lemon grass coconut milk body lotion, Jamaican black castor oil shampoo, conditioner, tropical hair and body mist (leave in hair treatment or face and body toner), anti-ageing serum, anti-ageing face cleanser, anti-ageing moisturiser, brown she-gash face and body scrub, and oatmeal soaps.

The year 2013, however, was a bitter sweet year for Lawrence. She lost her mother, which took a toll on her and impeded her route to success.

"It was hard because I always sought her advice. As grown as I am, I would call her for advice. If I were sick and needed a remedy, I would call her to find out what to do. I wish my mother was alive to see every successful achievement I've had," she lamented.

She aims to relentlessly press towards her goals while targeting several other objectives. Also, in spite of all the troubles that will arise as she continues to progress, Lawrence intends to remain determined and dedicated in concocting a stronger recipe for her success.

"In terms of my business, the greatest obstacle I have encountered is the lack of funding that is available to further small businesses. So I still maintain my 9-to-5 to provide necessary funding of my business. But I take pleasure in what I do. I enjoy talking to people about their skin and hair and watching reactions when they find out that I am not a saleswoman and that I am actually the owner of the brand," she boasted.

She added: "I see myself as a well-known brand that will soon become a household item. Also I see the Kingdom Royale Hair N Body brand in hotels, packaged as part of their welcome packages. The products will even be used and sold in hotel spa treatments."

Sophia Lawrence can be contacted at sophia@kingdomroyalehair-n-body.com.

rocheda.bartley@gleanerjm.com