I was born and raised in Accra, Ghana. Ever since I can remember, I was obsessed with things that flew and with taking things apart to see how they worked.
I immigrated to the US at the age of 8 after winning the diversity visa lottery. I spent my middle and high school years in Baltimore, MD where my parents worked multiple jobs to offer my brother and I the best shot at the “American Dream” we could get.
I studied aerospace engineering at MIT and worked at NASA for a stint before a mentor challenged me to go back to Ghana and reconnect. Seeing rural poverty for the first time up close gave me a complete change of heart – I put aerospace engineering behind me and moved back to Ghana in 2013 to start building what would become True Moringa.
While working with farmers, my co-founder Emily and I learned about the moringa tree – NGOs had told farmers to plant moringa for the nutritional benefits – gram for gram, the leaves of the tree contain more vitamin A than carrots, more protein than yogurt, and more calcium than milk. However, farmers couldn’t afford to cultivate moringa if they weren’t making money from it. So we took the unused part of the tree – the seeds – back to our labs at MIT and figured out how to cold-press it into a deeply moisturizing oil for hair and skin care.
Since then, we have built a network of 5000 farming families cultivating 2 million moringa trees. We provide direct farmer training and support and cultivate and cold-press the moringa seeds they produce using technologies we designed and built right here in Ghana. We work with small batch, women and black owned manufacturers in the US to create our finished products.
We’re committed not only to caring for your hair and skin, but to doing our part to dismantle systems of racial and economic injustice by creating opportunities for everyone along our supply chain and by raising the bar for what ethical sourcing looks like in the beauty industry.
The Growth Story
In 2013, I moved back to Accra, Ghana and designed and built our first factory by hand.
In 2014, we began outreach to small farming families across Ghana and to sell bulk moringa oil to cosmetics and personal care companies around the world
In 2015, we launched our direct to consumer line – 100% vegan, natural skincare and hair care powered by cold-pressed moringa oil including natural lip color, body care, and facial care.
In 2016, we started building our nucleus organic moringa farm and expanded into moringa powder production. We launched in Birchbox and Thrive Market and built our e-commerce store.
In 2017, we outgrew filling bottles and shipping from our tiny office and brought on our manufacturer and 3PL team.
In 2018, we were featured in Forbes, Good Morning America, Essence, The Economist, Marie Claire, and more.
In 2019 was full of highs and lows – we experienced a devastating factory fire at our moringa powder processing center, just months before we launched into retail with Whole Foods in New England and Pharmaca nationwide. We raised over $200,000 in grant funding to get back up and running. Toward the end of 2019, we switched to Klaviyo and made a sustained effort at consistent e-mail marketing and storytelling. Since then, we have seen a 43% increase in e-commerce revenue. We reached 5000 farmers and 2 million moringa trees planted.
2020 brought our greatest challenges yet – COVID-19 halted our retail opportunities, put our Series A raise on hold, and Ghana’a lockdown brought manufacturing and sourcing challenges.
We made swift pivots. We built ThriveTogether.store – Ghana’s first e-commerce platform to connect Made-In-Ghana food and personal care brands to customers looking to shop safely for essentials. We created employment opportunities for rural communities making face masks to sell in the US and Ghana. In this time of isolation, we used Klaviyo to bring our community together for causes we care about – from supporting fellow small businesses affected by COVID-19, to donating care packages to frontline healthcare workers, to raising funds for organizations fighting for racial justice.
Klaviyo has helped us grow revenue consistently since the outbreak of COVID-19 – we’re currently growing at 65% quarter over quarter in spite of all the challenges we face
Top 3 Elements to Growth
Mission – above all, our work is driven by our passion to help the farming families we serve move from poverty to prosperity. Our customers are drawn to this mission and to the transparency of our supply chain.
Measurement – you can’t change what you can’t measure. Our leadership team commits to measuring KPIs on a weekly basis so we can ensure that our decisions are data-driven and results-oriented
Focus on customer pain points – We have always been committed to making multi-tasking natural products that get real results. The onset of COVID-19 brought unprecedented challenges for our business and new pain points for our customers. We added new products to our line to serve them in this unprecedented time – hand sanitizer, face masks, and donations to support frontline healthcare workers.
What would you do with the $25K if you won?
– 40% – We will continue to invest in digital marketing using Klaviyo as a way to build and engage our audiences for both our True Moringa brand and for Thrive Together
– 60% – We will purchase raw materials from our farmers and suppliers to manufacture upcoming orders of essential personal care products – hand sanitizer, moisturizer, and face masks – both for donations to frontline workers and for our customers
Vote for True Moringa here: https://www.klaviyo.com/ownedgrowthstories
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