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 Cynthia Asije
Cynthia Asije is the CEO and founder of Adire Lounge and holds a bachelors degree in Business Administration. She is a multi-award winning textile designer at Adire lounge, a hand-dyed textile company that trains women in rural communities and creates job opportunities for them.
She has a Certificate in Entrepreneurship from Enterprise Development Centre Lagos, and a Non-Profit Leadership certificate from Lagos Business School. Cynthia was on the Ynaija Power list 2018 for Fashion and Style and 100 Africa’s Next Startup by IFC-World Bank Group 2018.
Cynthia founded Adire Lounge because she is passionate about eradicating extreme poverty using capacity development and entrepreneurship by infusing old cultural practices and technology.
One woman at a time, Cynthia is working to eradicate poverty in her community with her brand.
How did you start Adire Lounge?
I started Adire Lounge as a hand-dyed textile company that creates unique designs on non-conventional fabrics like chiffon, T-shirts, scarves and silk. I also train rural women, widows and out of school youths in adire making.
The vision behind Adire Lounge is to preserve our rich cultural heritage and traditions, while also closing the unemployment gap and creating job opportunities for women and youth in my community.
I truly believe that Adire lounge is making a difference in my community and country as a whole.
What was your motivation?
I wanted to build a brand that not only made profit, but helped my immediate community. Starting Adire Lounge was a way for me to preserve our beautiful culture while helping young people like me, earn a sustainable income and help their families too.
Most of the women in my community are of low social and economic status so they live below the poverty line and it can be quite difficult for them to provide basic necessities for their families. With my brand, I have been able to keep some of them on a salary which has helped them provide food, education and health care for their families.
What makes your brand stand out?
We have been able to build a premium textile brand that creates unique hand-dyed prints on non-conventional fabrics like chiffon, silk, T-shirts and scarves etc. We have also made custom prints for fashion designers and corporate organizations.
Our pieces have been used by other brands to make products like footwear, pillows and other products. We also collaborate with different brands to make new products.
Also, our approach to business which follows a community commerce model has helped us stand out as a brand that makes a significant contribution to our community.
Can you tell us 1 to 3 things you struggled with as a business owner and how you overcame them?
One of the things I struggled with was having access to enough finance when I started out. To combat this, I used the bootstrap method to finance my business.
Another issue I had was access to the market. It was a relatively new idea, so we needed to do a lot of marketing to increase our brand awareness. To combat the problem, we utilized social media marketing and influencer marketing to target our clients.
How have you managed to stay above the noise in this industry?
It can be quite distracting working in an industry that has a lot of competition such as the fashion industry but I have stayed above the noise in the industry by focusing on my “why.”
Focusing on why I stared Adire Lounge keeps me grounded and focused.
What impact have you made on your community since starting this business?
Most of the women in my community are of low social and economic status and they can’t afford to provide basic necessities for themselves and their families. So since starting my business, I have been able to help them gain economic independence by providing them with jobs. With the income they earn from these jobs, they are able to provide good food, health care and education for their families.
I believe this will cause a ripple effect and a larger impact in society as they will be able to achieve financial freedom for them and their families, thereby reducing poverty.
What is your major goal for 2019, and what have you done so far to achieve it?
Our goal for 2019 was to have an empowerment centre. So far, we have gotten the space from a community in Lagos, and construction work has started on the space we got.
Can you share 3 interesting facts about yourself?
I am creative, amazing and very resilient.
What is your fave skin, hair or self-care routine?
My favorite self-care routine is to meditate and I have a dedicated spa date.
How do you feel about this opportunity to promote your brand with SLA sponsored by SheaMoisture.
I am so excited about this opportunity to showcase my brand on the SLA platforms, sponsored by SheaMoisture because Adire Lounge will be able to leverage the network and meet more of our target audience.
Mention one word that should come to people’s minds when they think about your product/ services?
When people think of my brand, I want them to think of it as a premium hand-dyed textile fabrics company, made in Nigeria.
You can find SheaMoisture products at Youtopia Beauty stores nationwide and on Jumia.