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My guest this week is Olowo-n’djo Tchala. Born in the village of Kaboli, Togo, West Africa near the border of Benin, Olowo-n’djo grew up sharing an 8’x10’ room with seven siblings and his mother.
Although they did not always have enough, his mother, Ina, instilled in him the importance of kindness and generosity by always sharing what they could. Unable to afford school fees, Olowo-n’djo dropped out of school in the sixth grade to help support his family.
After meeting his wife he founded Alaffia in 2003. In 2004, armed with his understanding of the value of indigenous West African resources and sustainable business ideologies, he launched Alaffia’s ﬁrst collective. Alaffia continues to redefine the natural products industry through its values of beauty, equality and empowerment.
Alaffia handcrafts award-winning clean, green beauty and grooming products and is a social enterprise on a mission to invest in a more equitable future.
I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for us. We have so much to offer the world.
I get to do something that I deeply and profoundly believe in, really deep in my heart and my soul.
About Olowo-n’djo Tchala:
Olowo-n’djo Tchala, founder and CEO of Alaffia, was born and raised in the village of Kaboli, Togo, Africa located in the Central region near the border of Benin. Growing up, he shared an 8’ x 10’ room with his mother and seven siblings. Olowo-n’djo’s mother taught him the importance of kindness and generosity and by the age of five, Olowo-n’djo was working on the family farm to help support his family. After meeting Prairie Rose Hyde, who was serving in the Peace Corps at the time, he came to the United States and worked his way through school, eventually graduating from the University of California, Davis with a degree in organizational theory. Shortly before graduation, Olowo-n’djo and Rose felt they had the responsibility to fight the injustices that existed in West Africa. They founded Alaffia, which handcrafts award-winning clean and fair trade beauty and grooming care. The organization advances gender equality and alleviates poverty through the fair trade of indigenous African resources such as unrefined shea butter, African black soap, coconut oil and neem extract.
Thank you to our partner of the show!
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