SheaMoisture is the enduring and beautiful legacy of Sofi Tucker. Widowed with five children at 19, Grandma Sofi supported her family by selling handcrafted shea butter soaps and other creations in the village market in Sierra Leone.
Sofi became known as a healer who shared the power of shea and African black soap with families throughout the countryside.
She handed down her recipes to grandson Richelieu Dennis, who founded SheaMoisture and incorporated her wisdom into the brand’s hair and skin care innovations.
SheaMoisture products and collections are formulated with natural, certified organic and fair trade ingredients, with the shea butter ethically-sourced from 15 co-ops in Northern Ghana as part of the company’s purpose-driven Community Commerce business model.
SheaMoisture has partnered with She Leads Africa to support and showcase Nigerian women who support their communities.
About Tolu Adeleke-Aire
Tolu Adeleke-Aire is the CEO and founder of ToluTheMidwife.
She is an internationally trained, dual-qualified healthcare professional. Tolu is an accomplished senior midwife and nurse. Tolu has over ten years of clinical and management experience.
She completed an MSc in Healthcare Management, after which she worked with the reputable UCL (Department of Nutrition).
Tolu founded ToluTheMidwife to create a holistic experience for families. One that included preparing, supporting and empowering expectant parents as they transition to parenthood. She does this through evidence-based health education.
One parent at a time, Tolu is living her business mantra, “save a mother, save a child, save a community.”
ToluTheMidwife Healthcare Solutions, how did you start?
I started ToluTheMidwife Healthcare Solutions (officially) in 2018. The aim is to prepare, support and empower expectant parents as they transition to parenthood through evidence-based health education.
At ToluTheMidwife, we offer Antenatal Classes, Postnatal Classes, exclusive “With Woman” services and Dads Antenatal Classes #DadsAntenatalNg.
Through effective health education, we can influence a positive change in health behaviors. This will drastically reduce Nigeria’s maternal and neonatal mortality rates.
We truly believe that informed and empowered parents will Save a mother, Save a baby and Save a Community.
What was your motivation?
While still working in England, I visited Nigeria often because I always wanted to move back.
So during one of these visits, I read an article about the atrocious maternal and neonatal mortality rates. I instantly became obsessed.
That article made me struggle to understand why so many women die just because they are having a baby. On further research, I noted many women lack basic evidence-based health education.
As a result, I created Tolu the Midwife to fill this gap, with the hopes of saving mothers, babies, and communities.
What makes your brand stand out?
I would say our dads antenatal classes, #DadsAntenatalNg. We are the first to incorporate antenatal classes for dads in Lagos and possibly Nigeria.
Society expects men to understand the beautiful yet challenging changes that happen to women during pregnancy. To support their partners in labor and in the postnatal period.
All that without being taught, educated, informed or even supported.
This is grossly unfair, drives men away and generational patterns are subconsciously repeated.
Our holistic approach covers the transition to parenthood right from conception for both men and women.
Another thing we do is offer our couples, round the clock online maternity support through our exclusive “With Woman” packages.
Couples feel very reassured knowing there is a midwife available to answer all their questions and alleviate any anxiety or refer them to the hospital (if required).
Can you tell us one 1 to 3 things you struggled with as a business owner and how you overcame them?
1. Time management: I had a demanding full-time job and was starting a business in Nigeria. It was very challenging and I found no matter how hard I tried, the “naija factor” would disrupt my plans.
I am currently working part-time, as this gives me enough time to focus on building ToluTheMidwife and The Maternity Hub (Nigeria).
I am also able to attend various courses which have been extremely helpful in building my brand.
2. Funding: I was unable to secure a personal space as I had planned and this threw me out of sync. I froze the plans I had for the classes for a while.
However, I am currently leasing spaces as required for my classes (pay-as-you-go) and this is working out really well.
How have you managed to stay above the noise in this industry?
As a brand new start-up, we are trying new and exclusive services such as dads antenatal classes and baby massage classes and evaluating the response we get from our clients.
We also constantly monitor maternal needs and trends.
Do you have a personal experience that taught you a business lesson?
I didn’t consider the third party factor and it left me devastated at the start of my business.
As an example, I write the handbooks for the classes and have them updated throughout the year.
I gave the first book to a printer and I didn’t receive them on time for the very first class. It made me upset because when I did receive them, they were not fit for purpose.
So when I updated the books again and sent them to the printer, I monitored every single step to avoid a repeat of what happened before.
It was a really helpful learning experience for me because as a startup, I can’t afford to have a stain on my reputation, so I take all the necessary steps to ensure it doesn’t repeat itself.
What impact have you made on your community since starting this business?
I would say being able to make pregnant couples feel informed and empowered about their pregnancy, birthing options, and postnatal care. Most of them report feeling less anxious and worried because they know we are one call away.
They also ask the midwives and doctors to complete all aspects of their antenatal check-up. The women have their personal antenatal handheld notes, so they keep track of the important numbers in pregnancy.
All in all, I have been able to support more parents and help them become more informed and prepared to welcome their children to the world.
What is your major goal for 2019, and what have you done so far to achieve it?
My major goal is to add new services to ToluTheMidwife. This is partially completed but we would love to regularise the frequency of the classes.
We are also working hard to open The Maternity Hub. A one-stop hub for maternity, with services from conception to 6 weeks postpartum.
Can you share with us three interesting facts about yourself?
I am a real foodie and funny too, so you’ll usually catch me chilling and laughing.
Another interesting thing about me is that I prefer a good movie and company, over living it up in the clubs and bars on a Friday night.
How do you feel about this opportunity to promote your brand on SLA sponsored by SheaMoisture?
Absolutely ecstatic. SLA is an awesome platform for amazing African women.
To have our services featured on your sites, sponsored by SheaMoisture is truly an honor.
You can find SheaMoisture products at Youtopia Beauty stores nationwide and on Jumia.