More and more, women are combining profit with purpose to create a better world
From a chance discovery in a Ugandan market, Leila Janah stumbled upon her next business idea: an organic skincare line made from Nilotica, a rare form of creamy shea butter extracted from the fruits of East Africa’s Vitellaria nilotica tree nut, found primarily in the Nile River Valley.
In 2015 the Harvard-educated female tech entrepreneur from San Francisco officially launched the skincare line under the name LXMI — pronounced luxe-me. Its beauty supplies are now being sold in 300 Sephora stores, and its top-selling product, Pure Nilotica Melt, is a featured product on QVC.
Yet it wasn’t only Nilotica’s ability to hydrate Janah’s moisture-deprived skin that compelled her to found LXMI. It was her commitment to chip away at some of the world’s most serious problems, from childhood malnutrition to human trafficking: If she could cull Nilotica as a key ingredient for an organic skincare line, she could help marginalized East African women — many widowed and beleaguered by war — find dignified work through the wild harvesting, production and exportation of the high-grade tree nut.