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Alaffia is a beauty mark unlike any other. The black-owned, fair-trade business specializing in hair, face and body care products that incorporate artisanal African ingredients, defines itself as a business whose success is not measured by profit, but rather by empowerment.
“We founded Alaffia as a way to empower my communities in West Africa; our social mission came first,” founder Olowo-n’djo Tchala told POPSUGAR. “It was not developed as a marketing tool to sell our products.”
Inspired by her mother, Ina, Tchala founded Alaffia as a way to reintegrate into the community of her home country, Togo. “Ina taught me the importance of community,” he said. “When I was young, she always found ways to share everything we had with those around us, and that’s an essential part of what Alaffia does.”
Alaffia’s products, like unrefined shea butter and African black soap, are handcrafted by women’s cooperatives in Africa using traditional methods before being finished at Alaffia’s US headquarters in Olympia, WA. . Once the products are sold, the proceeds immediately flow back to Togo to help fund a number of initiatives such as maternal health, education, reforestation and sustainability. The goal is to reduce poverty, encourage gender equality and ultimately protect women, who Tchala says are the backbone of West African communities.
“Their skills and knowledge are systematically underestimated,” he said. “I created Alaffia as a way to change that, to give real value and awareness to the knowledge and resources of these women.”
Togo is one of the poorest countries in Africa. According to research by The Borgen project, just over 80% of the country’s rural population lived below the poverty line in 2017. A big step Alaffia is taking to reduce poverty is to ensure that the women who harvest these ingredients receive a living wage. and work in healthy environments.
“[Women’s] skills and knowledge are systematically underestimated. I created Alaffia to change that. “
“Not only do we create natural products with resources sustainably harvested and manufactured in one of the poorest countries in the world, but we fairly pay community members for their goods and services and provide health care, paid time off and other benefits, ”Tchala said. . “There is a two-way relationship where funds from the sale of our products flow back to the communities. They go to places where they are desperately needed, which community members have identified with. the center – basic needs, not profit. “
The company offers a range of several products such as shampoos, conditioners, body cleansers and body butters – check out the brand’s upcoming bestsellers.