Ghanaian industrialist explores prospects of shea butter’
Ghanaians, especially women, now have a wide-range of options to define their beauty following the introduction of natural, hand-made skin and hair products onto the local market.The skin and hair products are derived from quality local ingredients such as shea butter, cocoa butter, clay and moringa, which are sourced directly from farmers or through community projects. Shea Butter Cottage, a Ghanaian-owned manufacturing company based in Sonning, Reading, in the United Kingdom, is exploring the rich local natural ingredients that people often overlook to manufacture the skin and hair products. “My father (of blessed memory) instilled in me the use of natural ingredients around. Every time I look at trees, I see money on the trees, so to speak, because I think: ‘what is so important about this tree; what can we use this tree for?” the founder of Shea Butter Cottage, Mrs Akua Wood, told the Daily Graphic.
International awards. The intuition and innovation to explore nature for the benefit of mankind earned her three African Women in Europe (AWE) awards, including the Best Company and Most Innovative Person awards.
The introduction of the Shea Butter Cottage’s quality, natural hair and skin products, according to the award-winning Mrs Wood, is based on research which suggests that many Ghanaian women are now going natural because the chemicals are not helping them.
“As a Ghanaian, I noticed that we don’t have many natural hair or skin products. So we wanted to offer the Ghanaian the choice of our natural products for their skin and hair.”
It is this offer that attracted some Ghanaian women to an exhibition organised by Shea Butter Cottage in Accra to formally introduce its skin and hair products to the local market.
Having read about Shea Butter Cottage online, Anita from Adenta could not afford to miss the exhibition, and she was thrilled that the natural skin and hair products are now on the Ghanaian market.
“I’m very excited. Some of these products are not on the market and since we all want healthy hair, we’ll go for her products,” she remarks.
From Abelenkpe, Eunice said she had explored different products at the exhibition and she was excited about the fact that they were here to stay.
“So it’s not as if you use them and when they are good for you, you can’t find them on the market.”
Mrs Wood, who is a product of Achimota School and describes herself as a ‘hustler’, says her products are targeted at natural ladies and men in Ghana, which is the first and only African country in which the company is introducing its natural products.
“We are taking one step at a time, and we are starting with Ghana. We’ll see how the Ghana market takes us on and maybe see what we can offer other African markets as well.”
At the moment, Shea Butter Cottage is not into large scale production of its hair and skin products but Mrs Wood says it has the capacity to meet increasing demand on the Ghanaian market.
“But we still want to maintain that quality by having it hand-made and not mass production,” she explains.
Shea Butter Cottage does not have designated sale outlets for its products yet but it has an agent through whom they could be patronised. It also has plans to set up a website for the Ghanaian market.
For now, Shea Butter Cottage may not be considered a big company but already, it is doing big things in the realms of corporate social responsibility by investing in the livelihood of less fortunate communities, especially where it sources the ingredients for the manufacturing of the natural skin and hair products.
Having established a programme dubbed, ‘Helping Hand’ to help less fortunate people in those communities, the company devotes 10 per cent of its sales to support the provision of education for kids, water filters and other needs of the people.
At the moment, it is constructing a toilet facility for a community in northern Ghana.
“By buying from us you are helping to finance the livelihood of other less fortunate people,” Mrs Wood remarks.