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Shea trees grow throughout Sub-Saharan Africa and produce the small, shiny nuts that eventually transform into the gorgeous shea butter we use in our products.
We recently visited our suppliers, The Ojoba Women's Cooperative, in Ghana to learn how they create shea butter, from the first crack of their shells to the smooth final product!
1. A nut picking group gathers the unshelled nuts from surrounding shea trees. They crack each nut to remove the shell, and then wash them thoroughly.
2. The clean, de-shelled nuts are then spread out on a great slab of concrete to dry. Several of the ladies are known as resident 'nutologists' and specialize in picking out any nuts that might compromise the quality of their final butter.
3. The dry nuts are brought indoors to a grinder. The grinder creates a fine powder that looks (and smells) like cocoa powder.
This past February, we traveled 7000 miles across the globe to meet our shea butter supplier, the Ojoba Women's Shea Butter Cooperative in Bolgatanga, Ghana.
In five whirlwind days of ceremonies and celebrations, we created a lifetime of amazing memories. Our favorite moment? Oh, we couldn't possible choose one. How about five of them?
5. The Dancing. All the Dancing
Dancing is an important part of Frafra culture. It accompanies almost every reason for gathering; greeting guests, saying goodbye, thank you, we're happy to see you... the list goes on. You name it- they bust a move. At formal ceremonies, the women usually form a large circle and take turns jumping in the centre to perform. Their voices are the melody and their hands the beat, encouraging each woman as she has her moment of expression. It was remarkable, the energy that radiated off of them as they danced with their whole body. If you haven't watched this video about our trip to Ghana yet, do it right now!
4. Getting Our Hands in the Shea Butter
Did we hope that we'd get to make shea butter? Of course. Did we think we'd actually get to work alongside the women on a fresh batch? No way! Luckily for us, the women of O...
Who knew that a nut so small could create such change?
Twice a year, we buy ten tons of Shea butter directly from the Ojoba Women's Cooperative in Ghana, West Africa, and we use it in everything from massage bars to lip balms for its rich, moisturizing effect on the skin. This past February, we embarked on the adventure of a lifetime and traveled to the Upper East Region of Ghana to meet the women of Ojoba and witness the impact making Shea butter has had on their lives...
"It's always been about the people", said Johan, "We fell in love with them. You will too."
It was 2003; Johan and Tracy Wulfers were traveling through Ghana when they visited a group of forty women processing Shea butter by hand beneath a baobab tree. Curious, they struck up conversation to inquire about the mysterious substance they were furiously kneading in rhythmic, swooping motions. The women quickly derailed their curiosity, however, as they began to talk about their lives. They spoke of their children, their families and the daily struggle they faced to provide even the most basic necessities. The more they shared; the more Johan and Tracy wanted to work with them.
Having previously spent time in Western Africa as volunteer teachers, Johan and Tracy had seen firsthand the challenges faced by communities lacking financial resources.
They brought the Shea butter home to Portland with them and began selling it at local markets- the response was overwhelmingly positive. An o...
The story of our Fair Trade organic cocoa butter started a few years ago when we began working with the Peace Community of San Jose de Apartado in Columbia. The quality of the cocoa butter is absolutely gorgeous, but the community it supports is even better.
One of our favorite ingredients to use to create our luxurious products, is also one of the most expensive.
Agnes, one of our Buyers, takes a team to Turkey to see our rose supplier. They get a chance to not only pick roses, but also to see how the process of turning fresh roses into oils happens....