After battling through a particularly difficult illness, Ifeyinwa Ojekwe decided to make positive tweaks to her lifestyle. She became a big fan of natural skin care, and sought out organic products in local stores. When she failed to find body stores with purely natural creams and oils on offer, she made the items herself.
In 2013, Ajali Handmade Naturals was founded. Ifeyinwa, who set it up as an online store for her natural cosmetics, says she saw the venture’s potential as she watched the increasing interest in her products among her friends and church community. She’ since gone on to build it into one of Nigeria’s leading organic cosmetics brands, with an ever growing customer base in the country’s major metropolises.
Today, Ajali presents itself as a venture grounded firmly in nature’s healing and beautifying properties. Its products, including creams and moisturizers, scrubs and exfoliants, soaps, oil blends and even beard balms, are all made from ingredients sourced directly from local farms. This trust in purely natural, hand made blends bears itself out in the brand’s name as well; Ajali is in fact an Igbo word meaning “earth”.
Ajali derives much of its raw materials from Nigerian agricultural establishments; each product has at least 50% of its components handpicked from farms located within the country. These farms are largely located in rural areas; the team at Ajali makes a point of underlining the boost that this gives to the communities in which these farms are located.
This supposedly principled stance also extends to the integrity of its production processes, which is done by hand and doesn’t apply preservatives. Because of its professed focus on guaranteeing a high standard for its product, it makes them in small batches; this helps ensure that it maintains the quality it wants for its output. Packaging for Ajali’s products are eco-friendly, and are designed to reduce any possible negative effect on the environment.
Ajali has sales outlets in Lagos and Abuja, where customers are able to purchase its natural cosmetics. It runs an online store as well, with its website and Instagram page serving as its sales points in this respect. Visitors to the site will find Ajali’s ever expanding range of offerings on display there- lip balms, face sponges, raw sugar polishes, face oils and cleansers, and hair growth oils.
Orders can be placed for Ajali’s products through its online shops. These products are delivered nationwide, as well as elsewhere in the world, through international courier companies.
In 2017, Ajali committed to giving 5% of its sales to charity, through interventions and material support for needy and socially disadvantaged groups. Ifeyinwa Ojekwe says that this move was inspired by a desire to transform attitudes and mindsets, and provide a vehicle for spreading the word about nature based healthy living.
Ikenna Nwachukwu holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He loves to look at the world through multiple lenses- economic, political, religious and philosophical- and to write about what he observes in a witty, yet reflective style.