“Hotels and cosmetics have always co-existed well in the space of luxury travel,” Black Apothecary Office (BAO) founder, Jaé Joseph tells ESSENCE. With this in mind, in celebration of its 2 year anniversary, BAO is collaborating with ACE Hotel in Palm Springs.
“I am ecstatic about this partnership,” which will include BAO products at the hotel’s Feel Good spa, Joseph says. Specifically, you’ll be able to find products like the “Dunia” Papaya Enzyme Cleanser, “Cedella” Papaya Enzyme Toner, “Jalissa” Enzyme Lotion or the “Empress” Enzyme Night Cream featured in your treatment.
Leading up to this 2 year mark, BAO has become known for its papaya-filled formulas, inspired by Joseph’s Caribbean roots. Additionally, the products are termed as “bodega beauty,” offering affordable skin solutions to the community. The brand has also been recognized by the NAACP, American Express Minority Corporate Counsel, and other organizations. But BAO’s growth– just like any other brand– came with many lessons along the way, too. “I found a niche and once I found that, it fueled me to trust my own instinct and continue to follow our very own path,” he says.
Surprisingly enough, though, Joseph’s career roots didn’t begin in the beauty industry. Like his mother, he got his start as a fashion model. “But I’d always wanted to develop products and had sketches, renderings, and even prototypes made,” he says. In 2020, he finally took the leap of faith. “I created BAO not only to revolutionize the beauty industry but also, as a Black creator, to explore the historical, cultural, and social context of the era that we are living in,” he says. Not only this, the brand allows him to feel more connected to his roots. “The rituals of my family’s daily self-care influenced me massively.”
So what’s next for the beauty brand? 2024 will be a year of new retail partnerships for BAO, both locally and globally. “We are looking at more hotel and spa collaborations, specifically with tropical destinations,” he says. Joseph is also excited to finally expand into fragrance– an idea he’s had even before founding the brand. “This is one of those things that I am truly proud of,” he says of the 4-year process. “It’s a graduation– a badge of honor that I’ve earned.”