We were able to chat with Emily Cunningham & Kwami Williams, the founders behind True Moringa a skincare & cosmetic company working to connect small farmers to the global natural product market. Read more about how she started the brand and her goals below!
How/why did you start your brand?
Co-founders Kwami and Emily first learned about the moringa tree while working with small farming families in Ghana. Aid organizations had planted the trees throughout Ghana for the nutritional benefits - the leaves of the tree contain more iron than spinach, more calcium than milk, and more protein than eggs.
But there was no economic incentive for farmers to care for the trees - no access to a global market. So we took the unused part of the tree - the seeds - back our labs at MIT and figured out how to cold-press them into a deeply nourishing beauty oil that outperforms argan, jojoba, and shea. With that, True Moringa was born.
What was your biggest obstacle with launching a brand?
We manage every aspect of our supply chain, providing farmers the tools and training they need to grow moringa well, designing and building our own factory to process ingredients locally, and creating the channels to connect farmers with a global audience of conscious consumers. We have run into all the typical obstacles brands face when starting out (customer education, access to capital, launching into retail) as well as many obstacles that many brands don't (dealing with flooded roads, fabricating machinery in Ghana, wildfires, drought, and building trust across farming communities)!
What motivates you to grow your brand?
The farmer success stories we've seen motivate us to continue to grow our brand! Moringa is quick to grow, easy to cultivate, and can be intercropped with existing crops to provide farmers a dual food and cash crop, and much needed income during the dry season. We have seen so many farmers go from poverty to middle income by cultivating just an acre of moringa and use their profits to send their children to school, pay for healthcare, and even open new business ventures of their own.
Any tips and tricks on using your products?
Moringa is a smooth and dry oil that compliments the oil the skin produces naturally, making it perfect for all skin types and the ultimate multitasker! Use the same little bottle to moisturize face, hair, and body. Effective as a makeup base, makeup remover, cuticle oil, and for minimizing the appearance of scars, stretch marks, and dryness.
Does your brand give back? How?
True Moringa works directly with 3000 small farming families throughout Ghana, providing the tools and training they need to break the cycle of poverty, increasing annual incomes by up to 10x. We have planted over two million moringa trees to prevent deforestation and malnutrition locally, and we've created over 100 non-farm jobs in Ghana along our supply chain.
Anything else you'd like to add?
We're so grateful to be an inaugural brand at The Indie Shelf! Carefully curated storefronts like these are special places that allow us a platform to share the stories of our farmers and the magic of moringa oil with conscious consumers like you!