How Charity Dinko makes Northshea work
15 min watch

How Charity Dinko makes Northshea work

Cville
Sep 21
/
15 min watch

Transcript

Destinee Wright: Hi, folks, I'm Destinee, the owner of Destiny Marketing, a social media marketing and consulting agency based in Charlotte, North Carolina. And today we are bringing you a fantastic conversation with the amazing Charity Malia Dinko. She is a University of Virginia graduate and social entrepreneur who founded Northshea.

Charity began her work and social entrepreneurship after realizing that women who made shea butter in Ghana were often underpaid despite the increased revenue in the international market.

Her company Northshea provides women with livable wages in rural Ghana while also creating high-quality shea butter and by providing livable wages, Northshea helps liberate hardworking women from poverty in Ghana. Unfortunately, last summer the Northshea warehouse was looted and vandalized. Over two thousand pounds of product was stolen.

This halted shipments and forced them to issue refunds as they work to restock. Now, Northshea is on their second shipment after selling out of their first batch completely, which is very exciting and they are getting back on track. So Charity, thank you so much for joining us today. 

Charity Dinko:
Thanks for having me. 

Destinee: Of course. Of course. So tell us something interesting about yourself that most people may or may not know. 

Charity:
So I really like to talk a lot. I love to talk, but most people don't know that about me because when I... I'm the kind of person that when I meet people, I just crawl back into myself for a while, or if not probably days or weeks until I come out and just become very vocal. But once I do you would have to run away from me because I love to talk and talk about everything and anything. That's one thing people don't know about me. And when they find out, they get surprised, like "oh, you talk this much?"

Destinee:
And I feel like that comes in handy as an entrepreneur. Right? 

Charity:
You sure do need to be someone that's open. You have a physical product and a lot of customer interactions. Being an open person that's able to carry on conversations is very vital in this industry. 

Destinee: Do you want to talk a little bit for folks who may not understand exactly what a demo is, especially with your shea butter products? 

Charity: With the demos, for instance when you go to a Sam's Club or any big bookstore and you have people there would be samples of products to give away or samples that people can actually try be it a cream, you know, a snack or whatever it is that they have. They have people there that are showing a new product to the consumers who may not know about it. So that's where the demos are. And you have a little corner with your table, with your products that you can talk about, let people try them hand out info cards and just tell your story one on one. And it really, really does make a big difference. 

Destinee: So what is different about your shea butter products versus maybe some shea butter that we may find in, like, a beauty supply store? I personally use your products and I love your shea butter, so. I know. But tell the people...go ahead and flex and tell the people how amazing this shea butter is. 

Charity: Most of the shea out there, they don't go through the extra steps of actually separating the good nuts from their bad nuts  and they just mix all in. So you realize that most people don't like using raw shea because they think it has a very potent or really strong smell, which some people might say bad smell. Whereas with our shea, because we only use high-quality nuts, it is in its purest form and it smells amazing. It's smells nutty and it smells great. It's not an overpowering smell at all. It is also not extremely hard; most people know shea butter to be hard, they have to cut into it. Butter is butter. Shea butter has to be like butter in your fridge. Right. You just have to be careful when you purchase your shea to make sure that you're purchasing from somebody that you know, you can trace the source of the shea. 

Destinee: Yeah. Let's talk a little bit more about that, because from what I understand, you are sourcing the nuts for the shea and you're kind of eliminating the middle man, so to speak. So do you mind kind of speaking more to that and letting folks kind of in on some of that process and why it's so important that your company specifically is sourcing the nuts and producing the butter?

Charity:
We source the nuts and we produce the butter because we really want to have 100 percent control of the quality. Most businesses out there just go out and they source shea butter from different homes. When that happens, you realize that the shea butter that you buy from a particular company, it's different every time. You can buy shea from them this month and it's amazing. And next month it is not because it's made by somebody totally different with a different style, different set of nuts and everything else.

It was very important for us to build a factory there to be able to first deal with the quality control. And then secondly, it also allows us to eliminate the countless middlemen that's in the shea supply chain. When it comes to shea butter there are so many middlemen from the buying of the nuts all the way to the shipping and the logistics of it all. When people get to Ghana to buy shea, shea butter is made in the northern part of Ghana, not in the south. So you might meet somebody in the south who says, "I know someone that can get you shea." But they don't really know the exact factory or anything, so they have to go find somebody else. They go find another woman who finds somebody else. But at the end of the day, all seven people or whatever in that shea chain would get a cut of–if it's ten dollars that you pay, everyone is going to get part of that ten dollars. At the end of the day, the woman who actually made the shea or bought the nuts or picked up the nuts gets almost nothing.

So for us, we were able to cut out all the middlemen and then produce the butter and pay women the living wage that they need to be able to take care of themselves and their kids. So producing it ourselves and having a factory really allows us that liberty and the control of where our dollar goes and have a quality product. 

Destinee: That's amazing. So in your own words, what does it mean to support a small business? 

Charity: Behind every small business is a person that has goals and family members and people to feed and health care needs and all those things. So when you support a small business, you're truly and honestly putting money right into the hands of somebody that could actually use this and needs this because they're putting in all the effort and their heart and their passion. 

Destinee: Absolutely. What were some of COVID struggles? And I know we did talk about this a little bit, but let's talk more through how you overcame them and kind of where you are now. 

Charity: With COVID people were not even allowed to try things or test things on their own. So all the jars and everything were shut and closed. You just buy what you buy. So if someone comes in, and they don't know what Northshea is, more than likely they're not going to pick it up because they don't even get a chance to try it in-store store at all. 

Destinee: I understand you did kind of a whole revamping almost of your social media pages, which I've seen and I was so excited to see this growth on your pages. 

Charity: So like some things, just making yourself more visible was key. Visibility is key when it comes to social media. Using hashtags with every single post was helpful to letting people find us and also maximizing social media to the fullest. One thing that we had to do, I had to do was educate myself and then invest during COVID in an ad agency that was going to teach me, a program that was going to teach me how to actually run my own ads, which I found was incredible and very helpful. And just also just being more engaged, having one on one interactions with them in the DMS–I made sure to say thank you for following. If they followed that day, I'll just say thank you for who I was. And people found it really, really interesting that the founder actually sent you a voice note.  And this is not like a recorded or pre-record anything. I'm mentioning their name and I'm putting this out there. And with such an interaction as well, Instagram allows them to see your post more because now you've actually interacted with this person and they're not just like a figure or a number. 

Destinee: Do you mind providing a tip for other small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs at this time? 

Charity: OK, if I would give it a tip right now, I would say that just invest in your business. One thing that I've learned a lot during this few years of being in business is most businesses or small businesses, we just like to test the waters, if I should say, or dip our foot slightly in the business. But now when we see that we've validated the business, the business is doing great, there is this hesitation to move all in.

There is this hold back to, you know, invest in the right people that would help you move, invest in the right equipment, that will help you move, invest in the right resources that'll help you move to the next level. And then we just hold back with a fear of what's going to happen. But then you've validated your product because people are buying it. They're not buying a lot of it, but they could buy a lot of it if you put in the marketing dollars or just put in the resources. Hire the right expertise to help you do that, and as a small business, it can be very difficult when you don't have a lot of money, but there are several platforms like Upwork and things like that that people could leverage to get some support, because if anything at all, one thing I've learned, you can't do it on your own. And if you really want to grow and you want your business to get to the next level, you have to invest. 

Destinee: I agree. One hundred percent. It can be hard to release that as an entrepreneur. We are often starting maybe it's one or two people just really hustling and joining forces, trying to make something work and bring this idea to fruition. And then as we grow, we learn new challenges, new problems that maybe we hadn't experienced before. And I know for myself personally, I am an avid Googler. I will Google any challenge and look up ways to solve these problems. But the truth is that maybe some of these issues are just things that I cannot tackle alone. Right? And so that's where you have to try to enlist the services of other people and allot those funds to pay people to help you and help you expand. So I definitely agree with that. So what is something you want the audience to take away from this interview? 

Charity: Believe in yourself. Believe in what you're you've put in your heart to do. No matter what it is that you have decided that you know within yourself that you want to do for yourself and you want to achieve just go ahead and do it, because in the beginning, it is going to look like it's hard. It's going to look like people are just pushing you down and down and down. And let me tell you, they're not going to believe in you when you tell them what you're doing. Just stay the course and believe in yourself. Believe in yourself more than you can ever imagine.

Be your own hype woman and hype man, because nobody is going to do it for you but you. But the time they will start doing it for you is actually when you start succeeding. So put that in your head and know that it's not going to be rosy from the beginning. And if you have to take anything away from this conversation at all, just speaking from experience very soon, the people that didn't believe in you are going to start knocking on your door and asking you, how are you doing this? How did you do this? How did this work? And how did does not work? They are the same people that didn't believe in you before and then you have a chance to not be mean but now to teach.

Destinee: Yeah, there is a quote on the Internet somewhere about "hustle until your haters ask if you're hiring," which I think is amusing. But what is next for you, my dear? 

Charity: Growth. Growth is next. I'm just at the space where we just need to explode and I'm ready to explode. I'm ready to move up. I'm ready to...I'm ready for Northshea to be a household name. I'm ready for more people to learn about the incredible work we are doing for the women [inaudible] not just the women, but the incredible product they also produce to help improve a lot of people's skin and their hair. So I'm ready for growth and I'm excited. 

Destinee: That's beautiful, so where can the audience find you online? 

Charity: It's northshea.com and that's the website and Instagram is Northshea and Facebook is Northshea as well.  

Destinee: Beautiful. So that's a wrap. Thank you so much Charity for joining us today. Folks if you want to connect with me, my Instagram handle is @hellodestineexo and if you want to follow my business Instagram, it's @destineemrktng. So thank you so much to the folks at Ting and the folks over Mural for helping us bring this amazing conversation to our audiences. And we'll see you all next time. Bye bye! 

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Destinee Wright
Consultant, Social Media Marketer, Activist

Destinee is an artist, activist, and serial entrepreneur whose work centers on amplifying marginalized voices and impacting equity for racial and socioeconomic marginalized people. She currently works with small businesses and nonprofits to provide consulting services, content curation, and social media strategies that connect brands with their communities.

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How Charity Dinko makes Northshea work
15 min watch

How Charity Dinko makes Northshea work

Cville
Sep 21
/
15 min watch

Transcript

Destinee Wright: Hi, folks, I'm Destinee, the owner of Destiny Marketing, a social media marketing and consulting agency based in Charlotte, North Carolina. And today we are bringing you a fantastic conversation with the amazing Charity Malia Dinko. She is a University of Virginia graduate and social entrepreneur who founded Northshea.

Charity began her work and social entrepreneurship after realizing that women who made shea butter in Ghana were often underpaid despite the increased revenue in the international market.

Her company Northshea provides women with livable wages in rural Ghana while also creating high-quality shea butter and by providing livable wages, Northshea helps liberate hardworking women from poverty in Ghana. Unfortunately, last summer the Northshea warehouse was looted and vandalized. Over two thousand pounds of product was stolen.

This halted shipments and forced them to issue refunds as they work to restock. Now, Northshea is on their second shipment after selling out of their first batch completely, which is very exciting and they are getting back on track. So Charity, thank you so much for joining us today. 

Charity Dinko:
Thanks for having me. 

Destinee: Of course. Of course. So tell us something interesting about yourself that most people may or may not know. 

Charity:
So I really like to talk a lot. I love to talk, but most people don't know that about me because when I... I'm the kind of person that when I meet people, I just crawl back into myself for a while, or if not probably days or weeks until I come out and just become very vocal. But once I do you would have to run away from me because I love to talk and talk about everything and anything. That's one thing people don't know about me. And when they find out, they get surprised, like "oh, you talk this much?"

Destinee:
And I feel like that comes in handy as an entrepreneur. Right? 

Charity:
You sure do need to be someone that's open. You have a physical product and a lot of customer interactions. Being an open person that's able to carry on conversations is very vital in this industry. 

Destinee: Do you want to talk a little bit for folks who may not understand exactly what a demo is, especially with your shea butter products? 

Charity: With the demos, for instance when you go to a Sam's Club or any big bookstore and you have people there would be samples of products to give away or samples that people can actually try be it a cream, you know, a snack or whatever it is that they have. They have people there that are showing a new product to the consumers who may not know about it. So that's where the demos are. And you have a little corner with your table, with your products that you can talk about, let people try them hand out info cards and just tell your story one on one. And it really, really does make a big difference. 

Destinee: So what is different about your shea butter products versus maybe some shea butter that we may find in, like, a beauty supply store? I personally use your products and I love your shea butter, so. I know. But tell the people...go ahead and flex and tell the people how amazing this shea butter is. 

Charity: Most of the shea out there, they don't go through the extra steps of actually separating the good nuts from their bad nuts  and they just mix all in. So you realize that most people don't like using raw shea because they think it has a very potent or really strong smell, which some people might say bad smell. Whereas with our shea, because we only use high-quality nuts, it is in its purest form and it smells amazing. It's smells nutty and it smells great. It's not an overpowering smell at all. It is also not extremely hard; most people know shea butter to be hard, they have to cut into it. Butter is butter. Shea butter has to be like butter in your fridge. Right. You just have to be careful when you purchase your shea to make sure that you're purchasing from somebody that you know, you can trace the source of the shea. 

Destinee: Yeah. Let's talk a little bit more about that, because from what I understand, you are sourcing the nuts for the shea and you're kind of eliminating the middle man, so to speak. So do you mind kind of speaking more to that and letting folks kind of in on some of that process and why it's so important that your company specifically is sourcing the nuts and producing the butter?

Charity:
We source the nuts and we produce the butter because we really want to have 100 percent control of the quality. Most businesses out there just go out and they source shea butter from different homes. When that happens, you realize that the shea butter that you buy from a particular company, it's different every time. You can buy shea from them this month and it's amazing. And next month it is not because it's made by somebody totally different with a different style, different set of nuts and everything else.

It was very important for us to build a factory there to be able to first deal with the quality control. And then secondly, it also allows us to eliminate the countless middlemen that's in the shea supply chain. When it comes to shea butter there are so many middlemen from the buying of the nuts all the way to the shipping and the logistics of it all. When people get to Ghana to buy shea, shea butter is made in the northern part of Ghana, not in the south. So you might meet somebody in the south who says, "I know someone that can get you shea." But they don't really know the exact factory or anything, so they have to go find somebody else. They go find another woman who finds somebody else. But at the end of the day, all seven people or whatever in that shea chain would get a cut of–if it's ten dollars that you pay, everyone is going to get part of that ten dollars. At the end of the day, the woman who actually made the shea or bought the nuts or picked up the nuts gets almost nothing.

So for us, we were able to cut out all the middlemen and then produce the butter and pay women the living wage that they need to be able to take care of themselves and their kids. So producing it ourselves and having a factory really allows us that liberty and the control of where our dollar goes and have a quality product. 

Destinee: That's amazing. So in your own words, what does it mean to support a small business? 

Charity: Behind every small business is a person that has goals and family members and people to feed and health care needs and all those things. So when you support a small business, you're truly and honestly putting money right into the hands of somebody that could actually use this and needs this because they're putting in all the effort and their heart and their passion. 

Destinee: Absolutely. What were some of COVID struggles? And I know we did talk about this a little bit, but let's talk more through how you overcame them and kind of where you are now. 

Charity: With COVID people were not even allowed to try things or test things on their own. So all the jars and everything were shut and closed. You just buy what you buy. So if someone comes in, and they don't know what Northshea is, more than likely they're not going to pick it up because they don't even get a chance to try it in-store store at all. 

Destinee: I understand you did kind of a whole revamping almost of your social media pages, which I've seen and I was so excited to see this growth on your pages. 

Charity: So like some things, just making yourself more visible was key. Visibility is key when it comes to social media. Using hashtags with every single post was helpful to letting people find us and also maximizing social media to the fullest. One thing that we had to do, I had to do was educate myself and then invest during COVID in an ad agency that was going to teach me, a program that was going to teach me how to actually run my own ads, which I found was incredible and very helpful. And just also just being more engaged, having one on one interactions with them in the DMS–I made sure to say thank you for following. If they followed that day, I'll just say thank you for who I was. And people found it really, really interesting that the founder actually sent you a voice note.  And this is not like a recorded or pre-record anything. I'm mentioning their name and I'm putting this out there. And with such an interaction as well, Instagram allows them to see your post more because now you've actually interacted with this person and they're not just like a figure or a number. 

Destinee: Do you mind providing a tip for other small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs at this time? 

Charity: OK, if I would give it a tip right now, I would say that just invest in your business. One thing that I've learned a lot during this few years of being in business is most businesses or small businesses, we just like to test the waters, if I should say, or dip our foot slightly in the business. But now when we see that we've validated the business, the business is doing great, there is this hesitation to move all in.

There is this hold back to, you know, invest in the right people that would help you move, invest in the right equipment, that will help you move, invest in the right resources that'll help you move to the next level. And then we just hold back with a fear of what's going to happen. But then you've validated your product because people are buying it. They're not buying a lot of it, but they could buy a lot of it if you put in the marketing dollars or just put in the resources. Hire the right expertise to help you do that, and as a small business, it can be very difficult when you don't have a lot of money, but there are several platforms like Upwork and things like that that people could leverage to get some support, because if anything at all, one thing I've learned, you can't do it on your own. And if you really want to grow and you want your business to get to the next level, you have to invest. 

Destinee: I agree. One hundred percent. It can be hard to release that as an entrepreneur. We are often starting maybe it's one or two people just really hustling and joining forces, trying to make something work and bring this idea to fruition. And then as we grow, we learn new challenges, new problems that maybe we hadn't experienced before. And I know for myself personally, I am an avid Googler. I will Google any challenge and look up ways to solve these problems. But the truth is that maybe some of these issues are just things that I cannot tackle alone. Right? And so that's where you have to try to enlist the services of other people and allot those funds to pay people to help you and help you expand. So I definitely agree with that. So what is something you want the audience to take away from this interview? 

Charity: Believe in yourself. Believe in what you're you've put in your heart to do. No matter what it is that you have decided that you know within yourself that you want to do for yourself and you want to achieve just go ahead and do it, because in the beginning, it is going to look like it's hard. It's going to look like people are just pushing you down and down and down. And let me tell you, they're not going to believe in you when you tell them what you're doing. Just stay the course and believe in yourself. Believe in yourself more than you can ever imagine.

Be your own hype woman and hype man, because nobody is going to do it for you but you. But the time they will start doing it for you is actually when you start succeeding. So put that in your head and know that it's not going to be rosy from the beginning. And if you have to take anything away from this conversation at all, just speaking from experience very soon, the people that didn't believe in you are going to start knocking on your door and asking you, how are you doing this? How did you do this? How did this work? And how did does not work? They are the same people that didn't believe in you before and then you have a chance to not be mean but now to teach.

Destinee: Yeah, there is a quote on the Internet somewhere about "hustle until your haters ask if you're hiring," which I think is amusing. But what is next for you, my dear? 

Charity: Growth. Growth is next. I'm just at the space where we just need to explode and I'm ready to explode. I'm ready to move up. I'm ready to...I'm ready for Northshea to be a household name. I'm ready for more people to learn about the incredible work we are doing for the women [inaudible] not just the women, but the incredible product they also produce to help improve a lot of people's skin and their hair. So I'm ready for growth and I'm excited. 

Destinee: That's beautiful, so where can the audience find you online? 

Charity: It's northshea.com and that's the website and Instagram is Northshea and Facebook is Northshea as well.  

Destinee: Beautiful. So that's a wrap. Thank you so much Charity for joining us today. Folks if you want to connect with me, my Instagram handle is @hellodestineexo and if you want to follow my business Instagram, it's @destineemrktng. So thank you so much to the folks at Ting and the folks over Mural for helping us bring this amazing conversation to our audiences. And we'll see you all next time. Bye bye! 

Destinee Wright
Consultant, Social Media Marketer, Activist

Destinee is an artist, activist, and serial entrepreneur whose work centers on amplifying marginalized voices and impacting equity for racial and socioeconomic marginalized people. She currently works with small businesses and nonprofits to provide consulting services, content curation, and social media strategies that connect brands with their communities.

Other posts
See all posts
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