Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Alaffia Bodycare - Whole Trade Guarantee

My name is Jessica and I am the Whole Trade Guarantee Specialist. In my role I have the opportunity to promote social responsibility through the ethical sale and trade of commodity products. We donate 1% of all Whole Trade Guarantee sales to the Whole Planet Foundation, which funds micro-credit loans to women all over the world to help end world poverty. One of my favorite companies to work with is Alaffia Bodycare. The owner and founder Olowo-n'djo Tchala was born and grew up in Togo, Africa located on the West African coast. Times were extremely difficult growing up due to political unrest. Olowo-n'djo made a promise to himself he would do all he could to improve the lives of the women from the community he grew up in. Indigenous to the country of Togo, shea nuts are the main ingredient used in Alaffia's Bodycare products, which provides ethical wages to the women in the community. Olowo-n'djo explains: Because I grew up in poverty in Togo, I feel morally responsible to dedicate my life to empowering our communities in Africa. I have chosen to promote indigenous African natural resources that are culturally, spiritually, economically and ecologically sustainable. Traditionally handcrafted shea butter fits these criteria. It is a renewable resource of African origin; shea trees are wild, requiring no chemical fertilizers or pesticides. Furthermore, it is an integral part of many savanna communities and, consequently, there is a wealth of local and traditional knowledge of making shea butter. The fair trade of our handcrafted shea butter and shea butter skin care products is bringing income to and empowering our communities in Togo, while making indigenous, sustainable and effective skin care available to the global community. Fairly traded, handcrafted Shea Butter benefits the communities that produce it as well as the communities that purchase it. Members of our Agbanga Karite/Alaffia Shea Butter cooperative gain pride as they are able to use their traditional knowledge and skills to support their families. Our customers benefit because they are receiving an authentic product directly from the source. As part of our Fair Trade philosophy, we use 10% of our sales for community enhancement projects in Togo, West Africa and locally in Washington State. We also believe that Fair Trade applies to more than African communities and resources. The same care and philosophies are applied when crafting our creams, lotions, and soaps in Olympia, WA. We bring our handcrafted oils to Olympia, where we make our final products by hand in small batches. We combine our handcrafted oils with other high quality ingredients, including pure essential oils and food grade preservatives. We believe customers should have access to body care products made with unrefined, natural ingredients free of harmful chemicals, such as parabens and petroleum derivatives. Check out more about Alaffia on their website.