Rose Hips African Black Soap, Moroccan Lava & Camel’s Milk Softening Facial Masque and Mud-Poo Hair Wash are just a few out of over 200 products in Shea Terra Organics line of premium beauty goods. The mastermind behind this line is a woman named Tammie Umbel who started the company 13 years ago in an effort to help provide economic sustainability for women in Africa as well as help preserve the wildlife habitats from which these ingredients come. Tammie has a keen eye for finding ingredients that others have not yet discovered but that women in Africa have been using for centuries, and introducing them to the masses through her line. She was one of the first to introduce shea butter years ago as well as Argan oil, and continues to introduce indigenous African ingredients to the U.S. market, camel’s milk and Moroccan mud being some of the more recent.
The Shea Terra Organics line of beauty care was a long time in the making and started with a vision Tammie had when she was a young child. She believes that her humble upbringing is what has made her so passionate about helping others to succeed and is a driving force behind her business. As a child, Tammie remembers watching Feed the Children, which had a big impact on her outlook about life. While the TV screen showed people pleading for money, she didn’t understand why there weren’t any programs set up to help these people create long tern financial stability. She went on to study politics and international peacekeeping in college that helped to make her childhood vision of helping those in need come to life with the eventual launch of Shea Terra Organics.
Since early 2000, Tammie has worked closely with cooperatives and conservation groups in Africa to discover and incorporate these unique ingredients into Shea Terra Organics line. Each product in the line has a unique story behind it such as a women’s cooperative it benefits and a different conservation effort it supports. The Shea N Bees Extreme Lip Butter for instance is made with organic shea butter collected in Ghana and supplied by a hippo conservation project. This project employs local women who produce the shea butter in an effort to save a group of indigenous hippos that have almost become extinct. The lip butter also incorporates beeswax from a project in Uganda that offers free training and beekeeping equipment for farmers in the area, many of whom which were once child soldiers.
In addition to being a successful business owner, Tammie is a mother to 14 children, all of whom which are homeschooled by Tammie herself. Over the years, she has never lost sight of her priorities as a mother, wife and a practicing Muslim. Her children range from under one years old to 22 and together, with the help of her husband, they help run the business as well as the organic farm in Virginia that the family lives on. Her children were by her side from the start when she formulated her first product and continue to be a large part of the brand’s success and growth. Whether it’s helping out at trade shows or tagging along on a trip to Africa to research new ingredients, her family is always close by and that’s how she prefers it. It’s Tammie’s strong dedication to her family and her passion for her brand that has made her so successful.
In the spirit of full disclosure some brands mentioned in this article were, are or could be in the future, client’s of our parent company, the leading healthy lifestyle agency, ADinfinitum, Inc.