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Jack59: Eco-Friendly Hair Care That Honors Indigenous Traditions

Summary: Vanessa Marshall shares her inspiring mission to create eco-friendly hair care products that not only nurture your hair but also honor the environment and uphold cultural values. Discover how her passion for sustainability is transforming the hair care industry while uplifting Indigenous traditions!

Vanessa Marshall is the CEO and founder of Jack59, an award-winning social company dedicated to sustainability and community impact based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Interestingly, her journey into entrepreneurship didn’t begin with creating sustainable hair products but rather with a background in dentistry.

In honor of Indigenous Heritage Month, at Profit Reimagined, we celebrate the incredible journey of Vanessa Marshall. Her story is one of resilience, passion, and an unwavering commitment to sustainability, all deeply rooted in her Indigenous heritage.

As a proud Indigenous woman, Vanessa has made it her mission to create eco-friendly hair care products that nurture hair while honoring the environment and cultural values. Jack59’s flagship products include solid shampoo and conditioner bars that offer a unique formula for different hair types, ensuring that everyone can find the perfect match for their texture, color, curl pattern, and lifestyle. 

Since 2015, Jack59 has added an extensive lineup of natural hair care and body products to their offerings and shows no sign of slowing down!

Embracing Heritage and Innovation

Vanessa’s entrepreneurial journey is a true blend of traditional wisdom and modern innovation. Growing up, she was immersed in the rich traditions of her Indigenous community in Northern Alberta, which instilled in her a deep respect for nature and sustainable living. This upbringing laid the foundation for her future endeavors, shaping her values and driving her commitment to creating a positive impact through her business.

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The inception of Jack59 was sparked by Vanessa’s realization that the shampoo and conditioner bars available at the time were not pH balanced or formulated with beneficial ingredients, leading to hair damage on a tropical vacation she took in 2014. Armed with a background in chemistry and a wealth of Indigenous knowledge of natural ingredients, Vanessa saw an opportunity to create something better. 

She quit her job as a dental assistant and got to work building her dream. Her motivations were multifaceted: she wanted to spend more time with her family, take responsibility for reducing plastic waste, and make a meaningful impact through her business.

Creating Jack59: A Sustainable Vision

Jack59 is a testament to Vanessa’s dedication to sustainability and environmental stewardship. She combined her scientific expertise with traditional knowledge to develop shampoo and conditioner bars that are pH balanced, sulfate-free, paraben-free, silicone-free, and made from ethically sourced ingredients. Each product reflects Vanessa’s commitment to minimizing environmental impact while providing high-quality hair care solutions tailored to various hair types.

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Since its start, Jack59 has grown into over 275 retailers across North America and sells worldwide from their website,

The brand has saved over 750,000 plastic bottles from landfills, a remarkable achievement that underscores its commitment to sustainability. Despite its growth, Jack59 remains dedicated to quality and authenticity, with every single product still made by hand in Edmonton, Alberta.

Impacting Indigenous Communities

Vanessa’s efforts extend far beyond her business. She is deeply committed to making a positive impact on Indigenous communities. By integrating her heritage into her business practices, Vanessa fosters a sense of pride and representation. She believes in giving back to her community and ensuring that her business benefits not only the environment but also the people within her community.

Jack59 actively supports various charitable organizations and initiatives that benefit Indigenous communities. The company partners with local charities and organizations to provide educational resources, support for community projects, and initiatives aimed at improving the quality of life for Indigenous peoples. 

Through these partnerships, Jack59 contributes to the empowerment and development of Indigenous communities, ensuring that their needs and voices are heard and addressed.

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Vanessa’s dedication to supporting Indigenous communities is also reflected in her business practices. She prioritizes working with Indigenous suppliers and artisans, helping to create economic opportunities and promote Indigenous craftsmanship. Vanessa’s work inspires and supports fellow Indigenous entrepreneurs, creating opportunities for growth and development, and fostering a sense of community and solidarity.

Through her efforts, Vanessa not only uplifts her community but also sets an example for other businesses to follow. Her commitment to giving back and supporting Indigenous communities demonstrates the powerful impact that socially responsible businesses can have on society.

Vision for the Future – Uplifting Indigenous Entrepreneurs

Looking ahead, Vanessa envisions a future where Indigenous entrepreneurs are more represented and supported in the business world. She hopes to inspire and mentor fellow Indigenous women, encouraging them to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams. Vanessa’s vision includes expanding Jack59’s reach while maintaining its commitment to sustainability and community support. She is dedicated to fostering a dynamic, impact-focused community of women entrepreneurs.

Achieving B Corp Certification – A Lifelong Commitment to Do Better

One of the significant milestones for Jack59 was achieving B Corp certification. This decision was driven by Vanessa’s commitment to balancing financial growth with maintaining the integrity and vision of her business. B Corp certification underscores Jack59’s dedication to high social and environmental performance standards, transparency, and accountability. This achievement reflects Vanessa’s determination to lead by example in the beauty industry.

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Lessons and Advice for Fellow Entrepreneurs

Vanessa’s journey as a founder has taught her valuable lessons about resilience and staying true to one’s values. She advises fellow Indigenous entrepreneurs to use their heritage as a strength and to combine traditional knowledge with modern techniques to create unique products or services. Vanessa emphasizes the importance of resilience, perseverance, and seeking out supportive networks and mentors.

Inspirational Women of Influence

Vanessa draws significant inspiration from fellow Indigenous entrepreneur Jenn Harper, founder of Cheekbone Beauty. Jenn’s journey began with a dream and led to the creation of the first Indigenous-owned and founded cosmetics company – which is now featured in major retailers, including Sephora, across North America! Cheekbone Beauty’s commitment to sustainability and cultural representation serves as a powerful example for others. Jenn’s work resonates deeply with Vanessa, who shares a similar commitment to sustainability and community impact.

Another major influence on Vanessa is Vicki Saunders, founder of Coralus (formerly SheEO). Vicki’s vision of radical generosity has profoundly impacted Vanessa and countless other female entrepreneurs. Coralus is a global community of women supporting women-led ventures. Vicki’s approach to entrepreneurship, which combines mentorship and community support, aligns closely with Vanessa’s values and has helped shape the growth and success of Jack59.

Always Looking Forward

Vanessa’s story is a powerful example of how combining heritage, passion, and sustainability can lead to entrepreneurial success. As we celebrate Indigenous Heritage Month, her journey serves as an inspiration to many, demonstrating that it is possible to create a thriving business that honors and uplifts one’s heritage while making a positive impact on the environment and community.

Connect with Vanessa and Try Jack59 for Yourself!

Check out all the unique, vegan, and gluten-free products Jack59 has to offer on their website, – we highly recommend you take the Hair Quiz to find your perfect, sustainable match. Connect with Vanessa on LinkedIn to stay updated on her latest projects and initiatives.

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5 lessons we can learn from Vanessa’s journey:

  • Vanessa saw a problem and took action, making sustainability and environmental stewardship core to her business model.
  • Her strong commitment to giving back ensures that her business benefits not only the environment but also the people within her community.
  • From day one, Vanessa prioritized balancing financial growth with maintaining her business’s integrity and vision. This focus led her to become a  B Corp
  • Access to capital is a major challenge for women-owned businesses. Partnering with the right organizations can help propel your business forward and level the playing field.
  • It takes a village to grow a company. As a founder, you don’t have to do it all! Surround yourself with the right financial, operational, distribution, and marketing partners.

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