Ras AriEl & Egyinma
— Co-Founders —
During my initial visits to Ghana, I brought back plenty shea butter. It is the moisturizer of choice, so I packed several pounds for several friends.
Once I moved to Ghana, I got elbow-deep into the butter, combining it with essential oils and coconut oil for personal use. Impressed with my creations, I shared them with friends.
Around the same time, I got a request for a ton of raw shea butter to the States, which I supplied, though unimpressed by the margins. Exporters dump this precious commodity onto the world market way below its true value, a practice encouraged by “Fair Trade Agreements” designed only to keep the custodians of the world’s most desired commodities impoverished. Once I got hip to the game I added value and created a finished product, hence my foray into the natural skin and hair care space.
At first, the brand name was Salifu’s, a tribute to my best friend’s Dad, who had just passed away. I started by selling to friends and family, then to the vegan restaurants, then health food stores, and eventually, the leading supermarket chains became my customers. It helped that I was the first to market, in Ghana, with a refined version of the all-to-common shea butter.
The second product I set my eye on was a liquified version of black soap. I intended to capture the benefits of black soap in a familiar, easy-to-use bottle for the upwardly mobile, afro-chic consumers of today. The idea caught on immediately.
At the time (2007) I was making my own products, designing my own labels, handling sales and distribution. I needed help and the Universe knew it. Egyinma and I would cross paths three times before we stopped and spoke, but once we did, we never looked back.
Egyinma quit her job and committed to learning all she could about formulating natural products. Her kitchen was our first lab and in it, she created the Bug Off, Massage Oil, Hair Oil, Beard Oil, Toothpaste, and Deodorant. In 2011 we married and in 2015, after eight years working together, we co-founded Earth Seed, Ltd.
So far we’ve built a brand that makes 21 unique products, employs 7, and sources 95% of our raw material from 5 family-owned businesses right here in Ghana. Although we’re a long way from the goals we set for ourselves, the foundation is set and the journey is fulfilling.
VISIT US WHEN IN TOWN
House #17 Anderson Close
Adenta, Greater Accra, Ghana