In March, we introduced you to the women of Kperisi, Ghana who make the shea butter you’ll find in our natural soap bars. The shift from using a vegetable oil base to unrefined shea butter was a historical milestone for Rocky Mountain Soap Co. Unrefined shea has incredible benefits for the skin - boosting collagen production, reducing inflammation and deeply moisturizing.

We felt proud to take our hero product and make it even better, while positively affecting the lives of makers in our supply chain. The unrefined shea butter is not only organic but fair trade, purchased from our buyer Baraka Shea Butter. That means the individuals in the women’s collective earn fair market price for their product and the constant supply for work allows them to plan for their family’s financial future.

It has been almost a year of purchasing their shea butter, so we thought we’d check in to see how they’re doing.

Alijatu Yussif Shea Butter

“I have six children, two boys and four girls. It is a real struggle to keep up with school fees, medical and other household costs. Now that Rocky Mountain Soap is using Baraka Shea Butter we have the chance to work and earn money much more regularly. It helps our family so much.”
- Alijatu Yussif

Nashirtu Mahama with Daughter Shea Butter

“I have been making Baraka Shea Butter for five years, since my daughter Rabiatu was very young.  Baraka has always been very good to us, paying fair prices and supporting our families and community. Now that Rocky Mountain Soap is using Baraka Shea Butter we are able to make much more shea butter and this lets us earn more and be able to do more for our families.  We are able to pay school fees, cover family expenses and even have a little more left over sometimes.”
- Nashirtu Mahama

Zinabu Imoru Shea Butter

“Since Rocky Mountain Soap started using Baraka Shea Butter we are able to work nearly all the time.  This lets us earn money to support our family. It is so nice not to have to leave Kperisi and go to the city to work and miss being with our families.”
- Zinabu Imoru

“The women are all talking about how the increased volume is making a huge difference in their families and their lives.

Many used to leave families behind and travel to the city for extended periods to work and earn cash income.  Now they can stay home and be with their family and community.

They don’t ask for charity, just an opportunity to earn money – and the shea butter that Rocky Mountain Soap buys from us gives them that opportunity.”
- Wayne Dunn, founder of Baraka Shea Butter

So as you lather up a nourishing Rocky soap bar this season, enjoy this labour of love from these hard working women and smile knowing it’s doing some good in the world.

Originally published November 16, 2018

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