Simply Sámone: An Iowa State student’s business

Jassma’Ray Johnson started her own business as a freshman in college. She is now a business owner with a strong brand identity and locally made products.

Mikaela Chambers

Editor’s note: A previous version of this article stated Johnson was a junior but Johnson is actually sophomore. The Daily regrets this error.

Simply Sámone was created by Jassma’Ray Johnson, a sophomore in psychology and communications with a minor in African American studies, during her freshman year of college at Iowa State University. 

”I want everyone to see me, Jazzy, just how it sounds and being unapologetically myself,” Johnson said when referencing what her business revolves around. 

Simply Sámone is a local business that sells lip gloss in a variety of different colors and flavors. Along with selling lip gloss, she has a message behind why she began doing this.

“Actually, when I was in fourth grade, that was the first time I had actually made lip gloss,” Johnson said. “It wasn’t until last year at my dorm that I actually tried to redo it.”

Johnson is from Des Moines, Iowa, and her creativity sparked in elementary school when she tried to make her own lip gloss. It was one of many different times she enjoyed making crafts around her house. It took until her freshman year of college when she realized she loved this creative side of herself, so she decided to begin selling it. 

When viewing Simply Sámone’s social media, it is transparent that Johnson purposefully wants her brand identity to have a diverse amount of individuals with different backgrounds, religions, genders and more. Johnson explained this is on purpose, and she has a message around it.

“With my brand specifically, I center Black women because I feel like Black women are looked at for inspiration with ideas,” Johnson said. “We’re supposed to be the strong superwomen, but people also tend to ignore what we do and we do not get the recognition.”

With the platform Johnson has created, she wanted to make sure she acknowledged Black women, and in doing so, she gave them a voice to amplify their creativity and beauty. Although she does center around Black women, she also uses her platform for other minorities who she believes do not get enough recognition. In her brand photoshoot, she has a diverse group of individuals, including someone from the LGBTQIA+ community, a man, and all different types of women. 

Johnson explained she wants to help all individuals. When someone views her business, she wants whoever they are to feel they can buy that product. This is why she has a wide variety of lip glosses. With this platform, she wants all to feel her brand represents everyone and that anyone can use her products.

“This mission to Simply Sámone is to make people feel unapologetically beautiful in their own skin while encouraging, inspiring and uplifting,” Johnson said. “With this message, I want everyone to feel comfortable, beautiful, and I feel like I bring a lot of good energy even while making my lip gloss.”

These $8 lip glosses are known to be “made with love.” Johnson said she turns on music when making her products and makes sure the product has her energy through the making of the product, the logo and everything in between. She gets constant messages from clients who thank her for the lip gloss as they not only feel good wearing it but they feel Johnson’s energy when putting it on. 

In relation to this business’ mission, Johnson explained she is one who was made fun of growing up for having big lips. Because of this, she was always seen wearing lip gloss as that is what made her feel beautiful. Johnson not only can relate to many other women who find flaws in their looks, but she also has found a way to make anyone feel better about themselves. 

“Time management is pretty hard,” Johnson said. “It does get very overwhelming at times just being in college. I am a part of Black Student Alliance, I am a Black Lives Matter organizer, I take care of my business and I work part time,” Johnson said. “The best way I manage my time is through my calendar and sticky notes.” 

Johnson is planning on continuing this business after graduation and hoping to pass it down through many generations. After she graduates from Iowa State, Johnson wants to become a therapist and, in addition, create her own program of a boys and girls club where she can help younger individuals from low-income families. 

“I have the talent and I have the resources, so I decided to have the courage to invest in myself and take that leap of faith,” Johnson said. “[It] definitely paid off in the long run.”