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Ras AriEl & Empress 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, even though the margins sucked.  Exporters dump this precious commodity onto the world market way below its true value, a practice encouraged by “Fair Trade Agreements” designed 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 the 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 shea butter.

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The second product I set my eye on was a liquified version of black soap. I intended to capture all the benefits of traditional black soap into 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, and handling sales and distribution. I needed help and the Universe knew it. Around this time Egyinma and I met.

Three months after we met, Egyinma quit her safe office 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 its raw material from 5 family-owned businesses right here in Ghana.  We still have a ways to go before achieving our goals, but the foundation is set and the journey is fulfilling.

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