My current favourite product for moisturising my body is the Avelia Shea Body Butter, I use it every day (Ingredients Butyrospermum Parkii(Shea Butter) Oil, Vitis vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Shea Olien, and Persia Gratissima (Avocado) Oil).
I first came across the brand at the professional beauty show last year where I met the owner Patricia Monney. Like many a natural entrepreneur Patricia started making her products in her kitchen at home in Hemel Hempstead. This month she shared some delightful news with me so I decided to have a quick catch up with Patricia to find out more…
So for those who don’t know your brand, Aviela is 9 years old. What inspired you to start?
Aviela Shea butter products started as a result of my daughter Charissa . Even though I knew a lot about Shea butter because I come from Northern Ghana which is the hub of the Shea tree, I paid no attention to it at all. But when Charissa was almost 2 years old and was still not walking as a new mum, I became worried. While on holiday in Ghana I decided to visit a doctor to examine my daughter’s condition. The first doctor I saw confirmed that there was something wrong with her left ankle and she would probably need surgery. He then referred me to a bone specialist. When I met up with the bone specialist, he examined Charissa’s foot and asked me if I had ever heard of Shea butter. I excitedly told him that it was my mum’s favourite remedy for every skin and hair problem she had. He advised me to take Charissa home and massage her ankle with it twice a day and after 2 weeks he would determine whether an operation on her ankle was necessary.
I was quite upset about the prescription I was given and was thinking of not returning to see him. When I got home, I told my mother about my prescription and she said to give it a try. My mother took charge of it and massaged her granddaughter’s ankle with the Shea butter every morning and evening.
Three days afterwards, I saw Charissa on her feet trying to walk. By the 4th day, she was walking without any aid. I was so shocked and could not wait until the following week to see the doctor.
When I met the doctor after two weeks I asked him how the Shea butter had solved the problem. He explained to me that the cartilage in her ankle was very stiff, causing her not to stand properly, but the anti-stiffening agent in the unrefined Shea butter helped to induce some softness into her cartilage which helped her to stand on her feet comfortably, to allow her to walk. That very night when I got home I started calling all my Aunties and Uncles to find out more about Shea butter. When they told me about some of the benefits and the many ailments it had helped healed I knew I had to find a way of bring it to the whole world.
That is incredible, the power of Shea!! So now you are an expert what is your favourite product in your own range?
I love all the products in the range, and what I use depends on the weather and season, for instance during the winter I can’t live without my body butter and foot butter for my feet, in the spring it will be my lotion and oil, then getting into Autumn it will be the body crème. As for black soap I use it all throughout the year, morning and night.
So what was the good news?
That’s fantastic news is it in all Superdrug or are there certain ones we should head into?
Currently our products are being sold on their website, superdrug.com, but Superdrug have 4 types of stores which are respectively the Premium stores, the Prestige stores, the Family stores and the Travel stores, we have had discussions that the products will sit in either the Prestige or Premium stores but most likely in the Prestige stores. We are still awaiting confirmation as to which stores it will be and where those stores are located.
How important do you think it is for our natural products to get into mainstream stores?
More and more people are becoming aware of the benefits of natural products and would want to buy them, but they sometimes find it daunting just to go to natural product websites or stores and get them. If the product is easily available to them they will much prefer that, so I believe it will be helpful if we made it more easily accessible by putting our products in the mainstream stores so they can easily get want they want and enjoy the benefits natural products has to offer.
Any advice for a natural product company trying to follow in your footsteps?
We all know that running a business is not easy, but you have to be able to define what you want and what you want your business to achieve, and be persistent and determined in achieving what you want irrespective of what people will say or think of you. There will be a lot of ‘No’ but just remember that ‘No’ means not now but later. I initially approached Superdrug a year after I started my business and never got a response, 8 years on I went back again and this time the decision wasn’t difficult for them to make.
Readers to find out more you can visit www.aviela.co.uk
You can also visit www.superdrug.com to find the range on their website