Shea butter sourcing, products and social impact…
Rahama Wright, social entrepreneur and Founder of Shea Yeleen (501(c)(3) non-profit organization providing shea butter products that supports women-owned cooperatives in West Africa, and provides training on quality assurance and micro-enterprise development – (profile)) joins Regina Gwynn , Stephanie Betzler and guest host Marc Raco (host of “Fashion Is Your Business”) at the MouthMedia Network studios, powered by Sennheiser.
From Peace Corps to Shea, Ghana, and the problem with stripping shea
Wright discusses her role as a social entrepreneur after serving in Peace Corps, focus on social impact, producing a high quality natural organic shea butter product using ethically sourced ingredients from West Africa, specifically Northern Ghana. How Shea Yaleen has made impact on larger companies on how to source, that 90% of shea entering the global marketplace is actually not coming from Africa, with seeds sourced and shipped to Europe and Asia, stripping the shea with chemicals. How Shea Yaleen sourcing directly from women in local villages.
The power of authenticity, sourcing vs. health and beauty, and keeping it natural
Shea’s use in chocolate-making, challenges include that the shea butter the women are making is not the same as the one that larger manufacturers use, so it is a risk to change an ingredient, being funded by impact fund, and pitching to Whole Foods. Is Wright’s company a shea sourcing business or a health and beauty company, and why stripping shea down reduces the qualities and naturalness, and most products claiming inclusion of shea butter have very little.
MGM, sustaining the business, and standing up for others
A partnership with MGM, creating a feeling with scent, better luck with impact investors, looking at business structure and positioning business for proper funding, sustainability of the business, needing more people to scale, knowing your lane, next stop liquid soap, and packaging consideration. A round of Hitting the Pan personal questions covers first memories of beauty, baby spas, the importance of traveling for perspective, childhood visions of pursuing justice, and standing up for others. And the crucial nature of knowing the backstory of one’s products.