Alaffia is an award-winning company based in Olympia, WA with deep roots in West Africa. They make skin, hair and beauty care products using all natural, handcrafted, traditional West African ingredients. They were founded by Prairie Rose Hyde and Olowo n’djo Tchala, who first met in Togo, Africa before moving to Washington state with a shared vision they wanted to bring to life. Alaffia’s mission is to foster beauty, equality and empowerment and they walk the walk by using certified fair trade ingredients, supporting farmer co-operatives in West Africa, using an eco-conscious approach to product formulation and by re-investing profits back into communities in West Africa with a wide variety of life-affirming initiatives.
Alaffia’s values and ethics shine through in their approach to formulating and choosing ingredients. This starts with the farmers and producers in West Africa. Alaffia is the largest employer in Togo, outside of the government, and this includes a number of farming co-operatives and 10,000+ ingredient collectors. They also work with artisan co-ops – craftswomen who use their traditional knowledge to turn shea nuts into butter and the butter into soap.
Alaffia goes beyond just using fair trade ingredients that provide fair wages. Their whole organization is certified Fair for Life by Ecocert. Their most recent Ecocert audit resulted in a 91% score. Alaffia invests in their West African farmers and suppliers and the larger community. You can tell that Alaffia cares deeply about the people and communities that provide their ingredients by the results of the community initiatives they invest in:
Alaffia products use indigenous, locally sourced, West African ingredients like shea butter, coconut and palm oil, coffee berry, neem, turmeric and ginger. All of their formulas are vegan, biodegradable and made without animal testing or use of parabens, phthalates or synthetic fragrances. Their products are hard to miss on the shelf, using authentic tribal patterns and vibrant colours in their packaging. You can check out their products in a variety of lines including EveryDay Coconut and Shea shampoos, conditioners lotions and body washes, Neem-Turmeric deodorants, shampoos and conditioners, as well as their Kids line of products.
Alaffia is a shining example of how love for beauty, community and the larger eco-system can co-exist with being a successful company. In 2018, the founders were presented with the Award for Corporate Excellence in Women’s Economic Empowerment. They’ve also received a number of awards from magazines and websites for specific products. Their future is bright and their story is an inspiring one for us all.