Super Mom Disrupts $121 Billion Dollar Skin Care Industry From Her Kitchen

Funlayo Alabi, founder of Shea Radiance

Funlayo Alabi grew up in West Africa where shea butter was considered a cure for everything. Many years later after immigrating to the United States, her son began to suffer with a skin condition called eczema. So, she tried shea butter and found that it not only improved his eczema but also made her own skin glow from using it. So, she decided to start her own business!
Straight from the kitchen

In her own home kitchen, Alabi got creative with shea butter lotions and shampoos, adding ingredients like lavender and Baobab oil. She decided to name her products Shea Radiance, and first gave them away to family and friends. Later, she sold her products to small shops in her office building, and even farmers markets.

She realized that she was on to something when she began to quickly sell out of her products. So she went back to Africa for more shea.

A startling realization

Her trip to Nigeria was an eye opener. She found that the women who make shea butter work very hard. Shea butter is an off-white or ivory-colored fat extracted from the nut of the African shea tree, and Nigerian women work tediously at the harvesting and production process, from fruit to nut to butter. But they were still poor. It just didn't seem right to Alabi. So she got approval and help from the Niger state to create cooperatives for the production of shea butter, using independent women operators.

This resulted in two wins for Alabi; she ensured the monies went directly into the hands of the women who made the shea, and it allowed her to refine production practices that would extend the quality and shelf life of shea butter from a couple of months to two years.

Empowering women

Today, Shea Radiance products are sold all across the country. The achievement that Alabi is most proud of is that she empowered and improved the lives of women in Nigeria. She wants to do more of that. As she expressed it, "I really do believe that a jar of cream is not just a jar of cream. It can change the world. When women are economically empowered, it affects the family. And once you can affect the quality of life of a family, you can effect the community."

For more details about Shea Radiance, visit
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