Student-founded cosmetics company in Toledo rebrands, expands

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Joy Crowned Products, LLC

Advertising and social media posts created by Joy Crowned Products feature an emphasis on black women shown confidently posed and often wearing their hair in natural, traditional styles.

TOLEDO — For some college internships, students may find themselves going on coffee runs, entering data into spreadsheets or doing other busy work. However, at Joy Crowned Products first-year interns have the opportunity to research, design and create their own all-encompassing cosmetic products – all within 12 weeks.

“What I hope to accomplish with JCP is to provide products for men and women that nourish self-love and self-care,” said Melia Rucker, the co-founder and Chief Operating Officer at JCP. “Joy Crowned Products is actually only a two-person company besides the four other interns.”

Rucker and Stephanie Agyekum founded the company in 2017 while both still cosmetic science students at the University of Toledo. This year JCP has undergone a “rebranding” that has focused on creating holistic, natural products for people of all colors. 

This year was JCP’s first for accepting interns and this summer’s 12-week program saw the launch of six new products. One of them was completely crafted by Katie Wolf, a UT senior majoring in Cosmetic Science & Formulation Design and minoring in both Chemistry and Marketing.

“We would research ingredients and come up with the formulation,” said Wolf. “Then we would physically make the product.” 

All four interns and Rucker are currently students at UT receiving college credit for their work. This was Wolf’s first internship and while she applied for several bigger companies, she ended up doing exactly what she wanted at JCP. 

Joy Crowned Products, LLC

Featured products from JCP’s previous years, including the Genesis Collection and the I Am Legend Collection. All of these cosmetic products were researched, formulated and created by student-scientists from the University of Toledo.

“I had my doubts at first about interning for a smaller company,” said Wolf. “But the best part about working at a smaller company is having the freedom to work on whatever product I wanted. Working at a bigger lab, I would never be able to say I singlehandedly formulated and created my own product.”

This summer, Wolf’s main focus was the “Cream de la Cream” – a light weight, non-greasy moisturizing for all skin types. Some of the other products created this summer include Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Body Gelato, Hair FroYo and Tropical Hair Smoothie Styling Cream.

“Our goal is to create empowering cosmetic products for people of all races and genders,” said Wolf. “We have a focus on darker skin tones because our founders are two black women who feel there is currently not a large enough selection for black skin in cosmetics.”

JCP is an all-female, student-founded and black-owned business that began in Toledo, but after initial success, now has its sights set on expansion.

“My long term goals are for us to stay true to our mission statement,” said Rucker, “For JCP to become a household name brand sold worldwide and to continue to learn and grow as a cosmetic chemist and entrepreneur.”

Since JCP’s relaunch began early this year, its Instagram page has seen solid growth and interactivity, recently nearing 1,000 followers. Beyond product quality, many of the supporters are equally impressed with the company’s goals and all-encompassing mindset.

“The fact that these products is made by black women, for black women is a huge game changer for me,” said Kenlynn Williams, 19-year-old student at UT. “You can tell the difference especially in the hair products. I hope these girls keep doing exactly what they doing.”

Joy Crowned Products, LLC

Pictured above is a “texture shot” of JCP’s Whipped Shea Butter product. The silky, creamy moisturizer comes in two scents: Lemon Pound Cake Batter or Luscious Lavender.

Williams is not alone. Multiple positive reviews have been reposted to JCP’s website praising the “raw & eco-friendly” ingredients and “holistic self care” products. Rucker and Wolf both implied the first round of internships at JCP exceeded expectations and look forward to next year’s interns and to new cosmetic products yet to come.

Additional information and a complete list of current products for sale can be found at

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