“Alaffia” is a traditional greeting in the African nation of Togo that means peace, health and well-being.
Sustainable business is about supporting our communities. In the case of Alaffia, communities in Washington and Togo are being supported by this amazing business that is based on African handcrafted shea butter and traditional knowledge and skills that have been passed from generation to generation.
Alaffia is planting a seed to grow “empowerment, equality and beauty.” It’s a seed that is rooted in the love that flourished when Rose Hyde was sent to Togo by the Peace Corps and met Olowo-n’djo Tchala. They married, started a family and moved to Olympia, where their mutual commitment to “good” business inspired them to start Alaffia in 2004.
Olowo-n’djo grew up in Togo, where his mother was a farmer, as are the majority of people in Togo. He remembers that as he was growing up the message from his mother was always that he “must do good.” It’s a message he took to heart and Alaffia has allowed him to bring her advice to life. Today the company empowers more than 500 women who are part of Togo-based cooperatives. The ripple effects are impacting and improving the lives of thousands more through community programs, construction projects, a bicycles for education program, and a reforestation program. As one young girl noted, before she received her bike she had to get up at 3 am to complete her chores and walk to school. She was always late. Now with her bike she is able to sleep more and arrive at school on time. It’s just one small example of the life-changing impact that Alaffia is having in Togo.
Here at home, the Olympia-based company is growing and providing good employment opportunities for local residents. Alaffia clearly demonstrates the pride and profitability that comes with developing a sustainable business based on traditional knowledge and responsible care for communities.
Great products are the result of this inspiring transcontinental cooperation. Haggen is excited to feature Alaffia’s full line of all natural, fair trade certified skin and hair care products in our stores, including their traditional African Black Soap, Shea and Honey Nourishing Shampoo, and Baobab Oil Facial Serum. You’ll find the nourishing and moisturizing ingredients in all Alaffia products bring a healthy glow to skin and hair alike. In addition to their beauty products, Alaffia also markets colorful, durable hand-woven baskets that are perfect for regular shopping trips and BYOB (bring your own basket)!