Jessica Jesse, founder of BuDhaGirl, is taking her successful brand beyond jewellery, helping spas to think about sustainability, and launching retreats that play to the brand’s strong identity.
Many may know BuDhaGirl for its all-weather bangles, which retail in spas, and Jesse was also the creative force behind the fashion show at last year’s Global Wellness Summit in Italy. At this year’s summit, she’ll speak about sustainability and fashion, showcasing leaders who are upcycling and repurposing garments. “We need to look at how we can make fashion sustainable,” she says. “Your clients are thinking about it – it’s out there in the public conversation. If you don’t have that sustainable component now, it’s going to be tougher for you.”
Jesse’s foray into fashion began at age 14 as a runway model for Givenchy. She fell in love with the industry, and studied fashion merchandising, going on to hold directorial positions at Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue.
In 2013, she launched BuDhaGirl. “I had started learning about the power of intention,” she explains. “I wanted to marry that with jewellery, which is usually the last thing you put on when you leave the house.”
The bangles come with a message to set an intention as you slide each bracelet over your wrist at the start of the day, as well as to pause and be thankful when you take them off in the evening. The brand and its rituals have resonated with consumers, creating a strong social media presence through online connection.
Now, Jesse hopes BuDhaGirl fans will have a chance to meet in real life, as she launches BuDhaGirl experiences, trips and destinations – curated travel with like-minded ‘BuDhaGirls’. She’s partnered with Sol Society – a Dallas-based boutique travel experience brand – for the logistics, but will also use her own knowledge of the spa industry for the wellness components of the trips. The inaugural BuDhaGirl Experience will take place in Italy in 2020, and Jesse plans to introduce four trips a year limited to around 12 people each.
Also planned for 2020 is a BuDhaGirl Beauty & the Brain Symposium – a two-day event to be held at the Brain Performance Institute at the University of Texas at Dallas in conjunction with neurologists and researchers that will highlight the importance of beauty using all five senses. Jesse hopes to bring representatives from the spa and wellness industry to the event.
“It’s important for people in the industry to understand this – it’s vital to what they do,” she says.