Chapter 11

I spent most of 2015, at various events to promote the brand. Occasionally I would get into conversations with people and hear comments like "you are too smart to be selling shea butter" as if it was a compliment, but it wasn't. "You are wasting your degree". "You have an MBA?" with shock in their eyes. I couldn't get college students to work with me because my company was too small and selling on a tabletop at fairs was beneath them. I constantly got business advice from people who had never done what I was doing but believed they could do it better. Several people asked for my formulas, or for me to train them to start their own businesses, but didn't want to work with me. Then there were the men, who wanted to take the product around the world as their brand if I would just stay home and make it for them. I remember someone being proud of me for exhibiting the strength of a man, by having a manufacturing company.

One day an older Ethiopian passed by my stand at Accra Mall. He asked a few questions about my products and asked if I would sit down with him for a few minutes to get a drink. I reluctantly said Yes. I was tired, I needed a break and I felt like he was giving me permission to have one. He bought me a Coke and told me his story. He started selling shea butter years ago. He would go to Northern Ghana and Nigeria and buy the raw Shea Butter and export them to Egypt and Ethiopia. He told me about various challenges he had moving the Shea Butter across borders and finding shops to sell them once they arrived. Then he said, "One day I got tired of it and stopped and that is my biggest regret. I have tried to get back into it, but a lot of things have changed so I can't do that now. You have started something great here. It will get tough, no matter how tough it gets, don't stop. Take a break, but don't stop".

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