We had the good fortune of connecting with Nguzo Ogbodo and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Nguzo, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
I founded a non profit organization in 2011, a leader in period poverty and providing educational intervention, and giving access to safe space for girls and young women in low income communities in Africa. As the organization grew i learnt the obstacles that these young girls faces from balancing and providing for their family and going through puberty, for many of them puberty is a vulnerable time when they face challenges including sexual harassment, abuse, early marriage, unwanted pregnancy and absence from school which threatens their health and well being. The challenges are amplified when girls like the knowledge and tools they need to navigate puberty safely with dignity.

That’s why I created Yara Shea Beauty a social enterprise brand with all women distribution force to unlock a sustainable income source for women and their family to exemplify the ideal of creating Africa based solution to Africa problems, using African resources.

The brand is a unique distribution models that allows Yara to retail its products to consumers everyday through all women merchants making and retailing all organic and natural Shea butter which includes lotion, cream, Whipped body butter, creamy body Shea butter body wash to make all skin type feel good and look beautiful. The brand empowers and fights period poverty, enabling girls and young women stay in school and work equipping them with the necessary hygiene and sexual reproductive health education, so that each and everyone of them can live their life with dignity and purpose.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?

I founded Yara Shea Beauty a  New York based social impact to promote and change the narrative surrounding menstrual health and hygiene education in Nigeria, and to use African resources to create solutions to problems in Africa.  Through this brand , l have the fortunate blessing of being able to make amazing all natural Shea butter product that will not only make all skintype look good and beautiful, but will make everyone who buys our products see the Beauty in Helping. I wanted to make it simple and easy for a consumer shopping experinec that they can purchase clean and all natural Shea butter products, solving all skintype problems from a brand they trust. Also, in addition to be being clean and effective, they are changing lives and seeing the Beauty in Helping. I think that’s what sets Yara Shea Beauty apart from othet brand, using African resources in solving African problems, and seeing the Beauty in Helping. Thank you.
I was scared when I started this business and to be quite frank, I am still scared! I had no prior business and had no idea how people how would react with me being in the skincare space, with all that said I am learning, and still learning how to show up in a way that is both authentic but additive to the lives of ambitious women in the world. Ultimately, I want to be of service. I want this brand to be about elevation, empowerment, and inspiration for all girls and young women of all ages and ethnicities. I do not let fear get in the way of my dreams. I am not fearless, but I am courageous. I see challenges and I run toward them. I have a deep belief in myself and sometimes that scares me. I do believe that I have a purpose on this earth, and I want to ensure that everything I do is in pursuit of that purpose. The support and love from my kids helps me to over these challenges….I couldn’t have been where I’m today without them.

I want a world full energized, supportive, amazing woman! That’s the kind of world/ Community that I want for the girls I serve. Do we have one? Do we care for them well enough? Do they know they are part of something bigger ? It’s so important to me as we build that we think about the young girl next door and who she is. As we’ve defined her, everything that we do is for her. From our product packaging materials, to what we write on them, to what we put inside them, to our social media and website – everything is to elevate, amplify, empower, and inspire ambitious girls/young women. I think that if we stay truly focused on her then we will go from good to great.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I live in New York city, the most most photographed city in the world with glamorous and electrifying night life. So if I have a few friends visiting and looking for where to go, I will start by taking them to see The Statue of Liberty” which was a gift of friendship from the people of France to the United States and is recognized as a universal symbol of freedom and democracy, The city has an intricate park system so I will take them to the popular Central park to see ponds, lakes, zoo, and the famous central park conservatory garden and I would also take them to the bright lights of Times Square, world’s famous designers shops on 5th Avenue and for food I will definitely take them to The DUMBO location in Empire Stores for their fried chicken from Jacob’s Pickles, pizza from Fornino, inventive ice cream flavors from Sugar Hill Creamery and more amazing eateries.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Jessica Reinhart of Aids Healthcare Foundation

Website: https://www.yarasheabeauty.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/yarasheabeauty

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/yarasheabeauty

Image Credits
Just 2 LLs Photography

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.