When junior Jasmine Adams first reached for an old swimsuit as a makeup wipe, she had no idea that this simple act would alter the course of her whole life.
During high school in her hometown of Charleston, South Carolina, Adams would regularly mess up her makeup. “I had this old swimsuit just hanging next to my mirror, so I started grabbing that to fix my makeup mistakes,” Adams said. “It just kind of became a habit.”
However, Adams realized that her unusual habit could actually help others. “I took an entrepreneurship class in my senior year of high school and I was pushed to come up with an idea,” Adams explained. “And I was like, ‘well, I think this is just something kind of weird that I do, but maybe it’ll work for other people?’ And it did work really well for other people, and I’ve found a really positive response.”
From this inspiration came “Smudgies,” which Adams describes as “the everlasting eraser for all your makeup mishaps.” Made of a swimsuit-like material, the small square Smudgie removes makeup without water or cleanser. “It’s washable and reusable, so it’s more sustainable than disposable products, and it’s really convenient to just stick in your pocket so you can take it with you throughout the day,” Adams pitched.
Although it all began as a class project, Adams soon won competitions and eventually gained a place in the National Entrepreneurship Challenge in New York City, set for October in her first year of college. But although she had just recently started her business, Adams attended the University of Dallas that fall, moving 1000 miles away from her newly established roots.
Fortunately, Adams quickly found support at UD before the October competition. “It was definitely a big transition, but coming to a small school was actually really helpful,” Adams recalled. Within the first week of freshman year, she was able to find a network of supportive business professors, who mentored her through the competitive process.
Adams competed against roughly 40 other entrepreneurs in the National Entrepreneurship Challenge, and her Smudgies pitch won a stunning $10,000 prize. Most of the money went towards her UD education, which she described as “a huge blessing.”
Rather than keeping all the blessings for herself, Adams uses her business to serve others. Ten percent of Smudgies’ profit goes towards domestic violence awareness and helping victims to recover. Adams sees this cause as her social mission due to friends’ experiences.
“It’s not because I was ever personally a victim or anything, but through high school, I came to realize that I had a lot of amazing opportunities only because I had a really secure home life,” Adams said.
Adams is always searching for new involvement opportunities for this cause in Texas. This fall, she is especially excited about “Heels on the Move to Heal,” a shoe-fashion-show for domestic violence awareness and aid. The morning before this interview, she had been at a meeting for the event. “I’m going to put Smudgies in all the shoe models’ little swag-bags, so I’m kind of helping to sponsor it, and I’m really, really excited,” Adams enthused.
She plans to continue in social justice work throughout her lifetime. “Upholding people’s dignity as a society is something that I’m passionate about, so this is just one way that I feel like I can start to make an impact in that space,” she said.
Adams also envisions her future with Smudgies, and will hopefully run the business full time after graduation. “My short term plan is to just build up the business so that’s something that I can do in two years,” she said confidently. But she hesitated when considering her long term goals. “I don’t know,” she admitted. “I might be a serial entrepreneur and do that for the rest of my life. I’m also interested in consulting and leadership in business.
When considering how UD has shaped her goals, Adams reflected on her double major in English and business. “English definitely makes an impact on business — obviously there’s the communications side of it. But I think the emphasis on telling stories and understanding people is really important for business, especially the way that the business world is changing to be much more relational. It’s much more about the people now.”
“At this point, I think small business has become where my heart is. I really like the stories of people starting their businesses, and the ‘why.’ I think it’s so important for America and our economy that people be able to start their own business and tell their stories and share their talents,” Adams said. “So right now that’s the plan.”