When their two sons were younger, Funlayo and Shola Alabi noticed that both boys had unusually dry skin.
When local products failed to resolve the problem, Funlayo tried the shea butter she had grown up with in Nigeria, where it has been used for centuries for cooking and medicinal purposes.
The cream worked on their sons’ dry skin and thus was born a local business.
Seeing the potential value of their product, the couple created Shea Radiance in 2008. Working out of their Ellicott City home, they made batches of the cream and began selling it at local farmers’ markets.
Business grew quickly, so they expanded into rented space and hired more employees. Today, a dozen years after starting their business, the couple sells an entire line of beauty products based on the shea butter imported from West Africa.
“The mission of Shea Radiance is to influence the way women care for themselves,” said Funlayo, the company’s CEO. “We provide economic access to the women in our supply chain by meeting the needs of our customers. The mission of our organization allows me to lead passionate and mission-focused team members to become agents of positive change in the world.”
Innovation is key to success, said Funlayo, who earned her bachelor’s degree from Howard University in 1987 and her MBA from Regent University, in Virginia Beach, Virginia, in 1991.
“We recently updated our packaging to better communicate our unique selling position to our customers,” she said. “This has opened doors for us to expand our growth to Giant Food stores in the mid-Atlantic stores in November.”
“The mission of our organization allows me to lead passionate and mission-focused team members to become agents of positive change in the world.”