Olympia couple uses their shea-butter business to build a brighter future for Togo

The Seattle PI recently reported on the work of an Olympia couple who started Alaffia Sustainable Skin Care Products, a unique small business that markets skin care products made in Togo from shea butter. Members of a workers co-op there harvest the raw ingredient from the nuts of the wild shea tree and process it for a variety of lotions and soaps. Making shea butterThe business (which is based here and sells the products domestically and internationally) also functions as a social enterprise, earmarking 10% of its proceeds to development projects, which are making a real difference both for workers and their families, as well as for the economy of Togo. Alaffia is the brainchild of Olowo-n’djo Tchala of Togo and his wife Rose Hyde, who met during her Peace Corps service in that country. Rose served as a Sustainable Agriculture Volunteer in both the Central African Republic (from 1995-96) and in Togo (where she was transfered following a military coup attempt in the CAR), until 1997. They subsequently came to the US to complete their educations in California, then relocated to the Olympia area.