By Emily Buehler, Weaver Street Market Website Coordinator
This week’s owner coupon is $10 off a $30 purchase of body care items. Learn more about the coupon below.
Mother’s Day is coming! This week’s owner coupon is on all body care products, giving owners a chance to buy something special for Mom: fancy soaps, her favorite hand cream, or a heavenly scented skin care oil. One of our body care producers, the Alaffia co-op, has a great story involving some very special mothers.
In 2013, we were excited to welcome Olowo-n’djo Tchala, the founder and managing director of Alaffia, as he toured the United States. Olowo-n’djo shared how his mother was denied education as a child. After he fell in love with American Peace Corps volunteer Rose Hyde, he moved to the United States and they founded Alaffia to alleviate poverty and advance gender equality in Africa.
Alaffia buys shea butter from a cooperative they helped establish in 2003 in Olowo-n’djo’s home region of Togo, West Africa. They pay both a premium price for the oil and a fair wage to the women who gather the shea nuts and grind them. And, Olowo-n’djo’s mother is a member of the cooperative!
In addition to fair prices and wages, Alaffia provides equal employment opportunities, engages in environmentally sustainable practices, and provides healthy and safe working conditions. Since 2003, Alaffia has continued to grow and to add programs to help Togolese communities. They give back ten percent of sales to community empowerment projects such as donating bicycles to help students get to school, purchasing school supplies for over 37,000 students, planting over 81,000 trees, and donating over 27,000 eyeglasses. They have built 14 schools, and provided healthcare for over 5000 mothers. They also keep products affordable by eliminating intermediaries in the supply chain: Alaffia’s United States branch sells directly to stores.
In addition to doing good in the world, Alaffia’s products are great to use! They are third-party verified to meet the highest industry standards. The company and most of their products are certified as fair trade (For Life and Fair for Life, by ECOCERT), made with safe ingredients (MADE SAFE), and non-GMO compliant (the Non-GMO Project). In 2018, Alaffia received the Award for Corporate Excellence from the U.S. State Department for Women’s Economic Empowerment. Olowo-n’djo was appointed to the U.S. Trade Advisory Committee on Africa.
In 2012, Alaffia added a coconut-based product line, which allowed 130 more women to enter the co-op. In 2014, they built the Alaffia Artisan Center, where Rose used her sewing skills to train women escaping from prostitution. The Queen Alaffia line was born. By giving these women a chance to use sewing skills to support themselves and their families, offering a stable income ad respectable environment, and welcoming them into the Alaffia family, Alaffia has enabled the women to change their lives. (Queen Alaffia products are available online.)
My favorite Alaffia product is their shea butter-based African Black Soap (Tangerine Citrus scent). It comes in large-size bottles that I use to refill my pump bottle (reducing plastic waste). It can get bike grease off my hands, which is fitting, because Alaffia has also donated over 9,500 bikes to its communities!
This week’s owner coupon is $10 off a $30 purchase of body care items, good April 24 to May 1, 2019. Owners, look for the coupon in our weekly e-news, sent on Wednesday morning. If you didn’t get the coupon, you may need to update your email address in our owner database. Contact us at email@example.com.
Not an owner? Become one today to receive the weekly owner coupon as well as the other benefits of ownership, like invitations to the Co-op Fair, a logo T-shirt and bag, and the right to vote in board elections. Learn more here.