Hometown Heroes: Morrisa Jenkins & Bonkosi Horn, Cofounders of Freedom Apothecary
Friends, business partners and believers in natural beauty, Morrisa Jenkins and Bonkosi Horn have a special kind of synergy. We caught up with the two Hometown Heroes and co-owners of Philly-based Freedom Apothecary to talk about how they run their storefront, the wellness products they make themselves and how the whole biz came to be.
Tell us a bit about creating Freedom Apothecary—what are your backgrounds?
MORRISA: I started an e-commerce natural body care business in 2015 called Meaux Moisture. In 2017 I was given a vision as I slept one night, of a space for community, freedom and authenticity where women could be educated about holistic living and practice radical self-care. Bonkosi and I crossed paths through a series of serendipitous events and it’s been a match made in partnership heaven ever since.
BON: Yes, our story has truly come out of missed connections, serendipity and the universe telling us to put our passions and greatest strengths together. After 10 years working for a global retailer whose focus was on building community through their brand, I had grown tired of doing it for someone else in a way that didn’t feel authentic to me. I needed to branch out on my own. With years of experience in brand strategy and my “Midwest nice” approach to life and community, we knew we could build a brand that we were proud of but more importantly a community of women that we wanted to be a part of.
Can you share a bit about the brands you choose to carry in your store and why?
BON: One of our pillars is representation—we provide a platform for the under-represented. In an industry targeted at women, it’s surprising how many of those brands have men leading the way. So, it was important for us to find brands with founders who looked like us and provide a platform for women to access products made by other women. As a baseline we work with women-led indie brands that support a holistic lifestyle.
What made you take the leap into creating your own products?
MORRISA: In 2013, as I was preparing to have my first daughter and deciding what baby products to add to my registry, I realized I just couldn’t use the popular baby brands. I delved into researching natural products and started making them. The formulations I create almost always come out of a need my family and friends have. I find great joy hearing how it has given them the power to transition away from harmful ingredients. It’s more of a rebellion against the status quo of body care. Freedom’s products are still formulated in small batches in my home, using carefully sourced ingredients.
Do you have any advice for other small biz owners and creatives out there?
BON: I think the biggest thing is this: Create a brand based out of a need that you see and that others see, then make the best one there is. I am a firm believer in going all in from the start. We’ve learned that if you just do it the way you want it done, you spend far less time fixing things and you can focus your energy on building what you’ve created.
Thanks so much, Morrisa and Bonkosi! Click here to check out Freedom Apothecary’s goods, plus more from our Hometown Heroes.