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Its the Smell of Sweetness in the Air

November 28, 2011


Happy Holiday season! I hope you all have enjoyed your Turkey Day and spent time with loved ones laughing, and enjoying each other’s company. Although Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year, I’ve recently began enjoying the Christmas season more and more. Now that Thanksgiving has past, I officially feel like the holiday season has begun. There is something about the crisp chill in the air, the lights, the influx of people at Macys and the eggnog and rum drinks that I really enjoy. Actually, as I am sititng here typing I have my pandora tuned into the Nat King Cole station and I have a loaf of pumpkin chocolate chip bread baking away in the oven. Quintessential holiday activities if I do say so myself!


This weekend, I realized sometimes you just have to kick fear in the butt and move onward with our desires. I have been feeling a nudge to get my shea butter product company up and running, because I am consistently asked for samples of my whipped butter and hair oils I through together for myself. My family and friends look forward to the gifts I give them each year, and no longer can I ignore the small voice inside that tells me to go ahead and create an online marketplace despite the reservations I feel inside. I’ve gathered all the pages of recipes I have written down over the years (2 full notebooks worth of observations) and have a tentative plan for putting my creadtions out to the world. The major aspect of what I create will be to continue doing so from fair and just sources. As a young Igbo woman, I must and have a responsibility to honor the land and women which I am a creation of. It will be hair and body applications I produce composed of raw materials sourced from the Eastern and Northern regions of Nigeria. As you all may remember, I earlier this year I wanted to go to Nigeria extremely badly to conduct research on various ways of economically vitalizing small villages. Whilst doing research for an Economics professor of mine, something clicked. Here I was thinking, researching, and writing about the impact of the foreign policies and foreign companies in Nigierian affairs, when I hadn’t made a connection. I hadn’t thought that the global cosmetic industry was a large entity pulling money away from Nigeria. Then, I decided that even if I couldn’t travel to Nigeria, I would integrate my love for creating products and my academic knowledge and love of economics and sustainable development into one. Sustainability is extremely important to me and is pertinent at our present time given that global climate change is forcing us all to ensure that our activity on this planet does not contribute to high levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosiphere. As nations continue to evolve and become more technologically advanced, we must ensure that this global economic development occurs in conjunction with a healthy planet.

Thus, my line was born. Initially I began with the desire to simply whip shea hair and body creams that were not only silkily smooth and beautiful, but were free from unnecessary and harmful additives. I believed that that things we use on our body should be sourced from quality ingredients that are both kind to the environment and kind to our health. However, after communicating with wholesalers for one Christmas bulk order two years ago, it became clear that the majority of Shea Butter corporative selling bulk orders to the U.S. were sourced in London and Japan- with very few shea harvesters in Nigeria receiving a fair payment of their labor. In my opinion, the impact of containing resources and profit of shea butter harvesting within the very area of its production is extremely significant given that shea is a women’s business across Nigeria and West Africa as a whole. Women harvesters live in rural villages where cash crops such as a shea tree have the potential to contribute significantly to family economics when the money stays in their village. I have secured a woman’s cooperative which will be sourcing me with unrefined shea and coco butter for my mixes. The woman’s cooperative has been certified by USAID Global Development Alliance, and I feel secure knowing that the capital investment I make into the cooperative will directly impact the women I desperately wanted to be amongst.

I will launch online within the upcoming weeks, and will also look to participate in local shows- because to me it is bigger than cosmetic production. It is about making it clear that the decisions we make as consumers have direct implications to the lives of others. That is to say your money effects more than you think and people you will never come into contact with.

Now that I have gotten that out, I am really really excited to go live with my product site! Hard work really does pay off and each day I do something for my business…be it web designing, product structuring, biographies, I simply want to say that I am honoring my Nigierian heritage while caring for my environment.

This weekend I also spent time completing a few items from the 12 by 12 list, and I’m happy with just how quickly stuff gets done when I just “do” it. One of the major to-dos on my list was switching over this blog to a self-hosted server so that I may expand and change a few things up. I can now cross that off of my list because here it is…. 

I’M IN LOVE! and I made the move and edited the construction page on my own. I thought long and hard about hiring a web designer, but knew that I’d be able to do it myself if I just sat down, brushed up on my skills, and got to it. I learned HTML in HS, and am self-taught on CSS and learned math/statistical tools like SPSS and STATA while an undergraduate student. This previous knowledge made programming and switching a painless effort. There are still a few kinks even on the construction page (like getting the font consistent on a MAC and PC) so while I am updating a few things behind the scenes, this is what you will see. Once I hash out the kinks and finish formating to my liking the new site will be good to go!

Have you ever felt afraid of doing something you’ve always wanted to do, then have said to hell w/ it? How did you feel after you made the first step?


4 Comments leave one →
  1. December 1, 2011 6:46 pm

    omg…so excited for you!!! Still battling first step phobia to complete those dreams…but you are an inspiration to keep pressing on! Can’t wait to be one of your first customers;)

    • December 2, 2011 8:49 am

      thanks so much chica! i will definitely let you know once everything launches and i’ll be sending a box of goddies your way! i really appreciate your support! now for your dreams…go get ’em!

  2. December 12, 2011 3:39 pm

    I cosign with Chai, I think we’ll both be vying to be “first”! There are so many ways to connect back home but you’re right, people allow fears to stifle those dreams. I wish you all the best and send my prayers of support your way! I know how it feels to be afraid for that one dream that keeps gnawing at the back of your heart. It’s about high time that I stop thinking about it and just do it already… Hmm…. you may see my dream come to life real soon! Best of luck Chilove!

    • December 13, 2011 4:22 pm

      thank you for your support! i cannot wait until it is all finished, i will definitely keep you updated!

      i too hope that you are persuing your dream….there are no limitiations….just go for it!

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