The Emergence of Earth Seed
During my initial visits to Ghana, I always had to bring back plenty shea butter. Amongst my people, it is the moisturizer of choice, so I packed several pounds into my bag.
Once I moved to Ghana, I began customizing it to suit my taste, combining it with other essential oils to give it the desired texture and smell that I preferred. I thoroughly enjoyed the difference.
Around the same time, a friend of mine requested a large consignment of raw shea butter to be sent to the States. I supplied and was pleasantly surprised to see so much shea butter move so fast, but I wasn’t impressed with the margins. Then and now, exporters are dumping this prized commodity on the world market way below its true value. That’s when I realized there was no future in selling the raw material and considered taking my own enhanced version to market. The Body Shop was the only major player in the field and they earned their stripes, pretty much, off of shea butter. After trying their products I figured I could produce a much more wholesome product and still be profitable. Hence my foray into the natural skin and hair care space.
During this phase of my life I was juggling several ventures, so adding another one was no major feat, except for the fact that there was a steep learning curve. I‘d previously owned a record store and was familiar with retail and distributions, but I had never done production. I started by sourcing local containers, creating my own labels in Corel Draw, and branding it Salifu’s. I passed out samples in my community and the responses were encouraging, so I made a few tweaks and introduced my product to a few small retailers. Fortunately for me, there were no other locally manufactured and packaged shea butter products available in Ghana, at that time. Being the first to market with a refined version of a product widely consumed by Ghanaians gave me an edge. My product was soon on the shelves of Ghana’s main supermarkets.
Once proven viable I decided to expand my line to include black soap, the next most logical addition. It too is widely acclaimed for its properties, but then, only available in a very rudimentary packaging, thus difficult to use without making a mess of the bathroom. During a visit to the Trade Fair, I met a friend who had come up with a liquid version of black soap. I loved it and partnered with him immediately. Unfortunately, our wires crossed and the arrangement was short-lived, so I went on to work out my own formulation. It took me a couple of years before I could perfect my own formula and then too, it was with the help of another, namely Egyinma, who shared my vision so much so, that she co-founded Earth Seed, Ltd. and together we started a family.
Seeing she had a knack for formulation I turned production over to her and focused on marketing. We have since grown our line to include 16 unique products, stemming from the same principle as the first. We take local ingredients that are otherwise pegged for export and add value to them right here, employing a substantially greater percentage of the raw material for the best results.
Ours is a success story in the making. We are still a long way from the goals we set for ourselves, but we are laying a foundation that will shoulder many generations to come. More importantly, the journey is fulfilling.
Ras AriEl Yahzid, CEO & Founder