Jade Parker-Dinkins, founder and CEO of ROJOrganics, is using her beauty and skincare products to help prioritize her own health and wellness.
Parker-Dinkins began her business in 2014, selling handmade body butter to friends and family. However, she said it was originally called Home Healing Body Shop and started as more of a hobby. She did not start taking her business seriously until 2017 — when she suffered a sickle cell emergency and became temporarily disabled and unable to work.
During that month, Parker-Dinkins said she took a closer look at some of her own household items and their ingredients. She noticed many of the chemicals the products used were toxic, so she started researching natural and organic equivalents.
“I just decided if I didn’t have products that were accessible to me … maybe I’m supposed to make my own products if I can’t find them,” she said. “I started researching ingredients that would be healthy for me, that had the nutrients, the properties that my body needed to heal itself. And that’s when I started making my first product.”
Today, ROJOrganics — or River of Jordan Organics — specializes in natural and clean beauty and skincare products for Black and brown women. Parker-Dinkins received her degree in nursing from Kentucky State University and said she incorporates her 11 years of nursing practice and 20 years of patient advocacy into creating products specifically designed for women like her — who are chronically ill, women of color or nurses.
The name River of Jordan came from the story of Naaman in the Bible. Technically, the River of Jordan is considered a dirty body of water; however, in the Bible it is used to baptize and heal people, Parker-Dinkins said. The idea that something so simple as bathing in the water of the river could bring healing when money and other things could not resonated with her.
“It really just started to take me down a path of learning what it really meant to take care of myself and to keep myself healthy,” she said. “These last 10 years has just been a journey of me now formulating multiple products and continuing to tell my story out loud.”
Parker-Dinkins is intentional about everything that goes into her products, including texture, smell, quality of ingredients and how it feels when her consumers use it. Shea butter is the key ingredient in her body butter. It is rich in vitamin E, has natural UV protection and “just feels good,” Parker-Dinkins said.
“I’m looking at it from so many different angles, not only just the nutritional and the nourishment side of it but what is this experience going to feel like when people are utilizing these products,” she said. “Because that’s a part of having a human experience. We see, we feel, we hear, we touch, we taste, and when I’m thinking about all those things and how they apply, it helps me to have greater respect for my humanity.”
ROJOrganics is built on the principle of A.R.T. (autonomy, recognition and transparency). Parker-Dinkins said giving people permission to own their own self-care journeys, time to identify how they feel, and all the information to make informed decisions about which products to put on their bodies are the core values of the company.
Before she even turns on a mixer or places an order, Parker-Dinkins said she is mapping out who her product is for and who it serves. She said she asks herself if she is still serving the people she said she was going to serve in 2014 and if she is doing it respectfully and with her own health in mind.
“It won’t happen until I’m rested,” she said. “I don’t rush myself to produce any kind of art, any kind of product, without being in the place to do that, to have that creativity free flowing.”
In spring 2021, ROJOrganics underwent a partnership and complete rebrand with BeCurious Studio through an Adobe Co-Create Program. Parker-Dinkins relaunched the company’s website in December 2022. She said she will relaunch her products this summer during pop-up and festival season, beginning with The Kitchen Sink on June 15 for Indy’s Black Innovation Week.
In addition to body butter, ROJOrganics also offers body oils, soaps, scrubs, balms and an assortment of men’s care items. ROJOrganics can be purchased on the company’s website at rojorganics.com.
This story had been updated.
This story has been updated with Jade Parker Dinkins’ correct alma mater. A previous version of this story stated Parker-Dinkins attended the University of Kentucky. That is incorrect. She attended Kentucky State University. The Recorder makes every effort to correct its mistakes.
Contact staff writer Chloe McGowan at 317-762-7848. Follow her on Twitter @chloe_mcgowanxx.