Baraka believes that business can and should be a force for good, integrating social value, business value, and environmental stewardship.
Baraka Shea Butter is a small Canadian/Ghanaian family-owned business located on Vancouver Island in Canada and founded by husband and wife team, Wayne Dunn (Canadian/Irish) and Gifty Serbeh-Dunn (Ghanaian/Canadian).
We have a passion for using business to create meaningful community impact and generate financial returns, while simultaneously respecting our planet and environment.
We do this by creating value chains and human connections to bring high-quality local products to global markets and industries. This supports hard-working local women to generate income and develop their communities and provides ethical and sustainable products to people, businesses and industries in North America and around the world.
Gifty was born and raised in Northern Ghana. She moved to Canada in the 1980s but always felt a strong connection to her home community in Wa. When visiting, she used to bring care packages to the women. Upon asking what she could bring them next time, the women said they wanted to work and earn income.
How could Gifty offer work to these women in Ghana when she lived on the other side of the world in Canada? After seeing shea butter grow in popularity in North America, the idea came to her.
Shea butter had been handcrafted in her home community for generations, so perhaps she could provide work for the women by selling their shea butter to the rest of the world.
This formed the beginning of Baraka Shea Butter. Gifty is also a fantastic formulator of products containing Baraka’s oils and butters and enthusiastically supports Baraka customers who reach out for help. She has her own skincare brand: Shea Butter Market.
Gifty and Wayne met in Ottawa but now reside on Vancouver Island. They have spent much of their time in Africa and Wayne is currently residing in Ghana to oversee operations during COVID-19.
Wayne has spent decades working worldwide, advising and teaching companies, industries, governments, and international organizations how to work effectively in the space where business meets society.
He is a former Professor of Practice in Corporate Social Responsibility at McGill University and is recognized as a global thought and practice leader in this space (for more see CSR Training Institute, a training and consulting agency he founded and ran).
He has taken this learning and experience and used it to shape the purpose, values and business model for Baraka Shea Butter.
What does Baraka mean?
Baraka means “thank you” in Wali, a Ghanaian language with approximately One hundred and forty thousand speakers in north-western Ghana, where we source Baraka Shea Butter. However, the word Baraka also belongs to other languages and cultures, bridging divides that exist in the world today.
At Baraka, we strive to use business to bridge divides worldwide and create a genuine community impact through:
By focusing on these goals, we generate value for the entire supply chain, from the original producers through to the end users and, of course, for our own business. If Baraka isn’t profitable, none of the rest is possible or sustainable.
We take pride in every carton of shea butter we create and in how we create it. 100% handmade by the hardworking women and families of Northern Ghana, we use age-old traditional methods passed down through generations. Our products are wholesome, nourishing, and natural – no chemicals or additives, no animal testing, no harsh industrial processes.
Just pure, natural, unrefined shea butter… from our hands to yours.
From Our Founders, Wayne and Gifty
“I have always believed that business can and should be a force for social good, as well as being a vehicle for profit and personal fulfillment.” – Wayne Dunn
We created Baraka Shea Butter with one purpose in mind. To bring pure, unrefined shea butter to North America and the world in a way that connects and benefits the value-chain; from the hard-working women who make it, to the crafters and businesses that produce amazing products with it, all the way to the customers who use those products.
We aren’t perfect, but the more we succeed in our purpose, the more impact we have, the more fun we have, the more money we make, and the more support and engagement we receive from all our stakeholders. For us, if we lose sight of our purpose, we truly lose our business.
“Baraka is designed to help women and communities to help themselves. They constantly tell me they want the dignity of income and not charity handouts.” – Gifty Serbeh-Dunn
But, before you think we are some sort of altruistic angels (we aren’t), know that it’s also important for us to build Baraka Shea Butter into a viable and thriving business. I have a long background in global business and a Masters from Stanford Business School. Baraka won’t succeed if we aren’t profitable and create value for our shareholders. Without that there is no impact.
I firmly believe that our approach not only maximizes the impact all along our value chain but that it also gives our business a competitive advantage. And, it makes it a lot more fun for our team and our customers, knowing that we are making a difference and an impact at the same time as we run a successful business.
To hear directly from the women who make Baraka Shea Butter about how we have worked with them over the years, I hope you’ll take the time to watch this video interview with Zenabu Imoru, a leader of the women’s group and the community Chief. It’s a great way to learn more about how Baraka Shea Butter works with women and the community and the Certified Fair Trade designation.
You can also listen to Gifty’s recent interview on CBC’s North by Northwest with Sheryl Mackay.
Thank you for your support, involvement, and being part of the Baraka Community.
Gifty and Wayne
Purpose & Values
At Baraka Shea Butter, our purpose is to use business to profitably make a difference in people’s lives; from the hard-working women who make it, to the crafters, businesses and industries that produce great products with it, all the way to the customers who use those products and benefit from the amazing properties of high-quality, pure, unrefined shea butter.
Our purpose and values chart our course, and we work hard to be true to them. When we get this right:
- Our business succeeds, and all of us are happier and more fulfilled.
- We make a social impact and are effective stewards of the environment.
- Everyone in our value chain benefits; and
- We know we are providing the best possible service by offering high-quality products and smart, profitable operations.
We are human, so sometimes we will fall short. Whether you believe we are achieving our goals, or we are missing them, we value the feedback and opinions of the Baraka Community. We hope that you will contact us and let us know how we are doing. Your feedback is truly important and valued.
Why Choose Baraka
A great product, incredible service, and making a meaningful impact is what our company strives for.
The women who make Baraka Shea Butter do everything by hand, using age-old techniques passed down through generations. Living on the edge of the Sahara with its dry, harsh conditions meant their face, hands, and skin were battered daily by sun, sand, and heat. Centuries of practice has taught them how to extract every bit of goodness from the shea nut. That quality is passed on in every package of Baraka Shea Butter and every product that is made from it.
Every time anyone purchases Baraka Shea Butter, or any products made with it; they have a direct impact on the women, families, and communities in northern Ghana. We believe we have the strongest and most authentic community impact connection of any shea butter producer in the world, and we take great pride in that.
When you purchase Baraka Shea Butter, you can trust that you are doing something good for you, good for the women who make it, and good for the environment.
It’s all about quality, service, impact and more! With every purchase you make, you know you’ll get:
- A high-quality product;
- Fast, solution-focused customer service; and
- A positive impact throughout the value chain.
Check out our reviews on Google and Facebook if you want to hear about this directly from others who have done business with us. Please feel free to do a review yourself or let us know directly how we can do better.
Our approach to customer service is simple. We are here to serve and to find solutions to meet your needs and expectations … FAST. At Baraka Shea Butter, we stand behind our product and service 100% – no exceptions. You deserve to be satisfied, whatever that means.
We know our success comes from successful and satisfied customers, they are important to us, and we do everything we can to support them and help them be successful.
We provide additional customer support through:
- Social media content and assistance to help educate their
customers about the quality of Baraka Shea Butter and the
impact their purchases have on hard-working women and
families in Northern Ghana. Download custom images, graphics, and video here
- Providing content and support to help our customers integrate
sustainability and impact into their business strategy
- Next business day (or sooner) shipping of all orders.
Additionally, you can hear directly from our customers by accessing our social wall, or on Google and Facebook. We hope if you have received amazing customer service, that you’ll take a few minutes to leave a review on Google and Facebook as well. If you haven’t received amazing customer service, please let us know directly how we can do better.
If for any reason, we have not exceeded your expectations, we want to do whatever we can to make it right (no questions asked) and improve on how we do business and work with our customers. Whether that means refunding your purchase price, replacing your product or just listening to your concerns, our objective is to turn your experience with us into a positive one.
We know that sometimes we will fall short and if we do, we ask that you let us know so we can fix it.
If we don’t immediately fix your concerns to your satisfaction, then we urge you to contact us directly at 1 (855) 929.7639 or email our CEO personally. He will reply promptly.
Baraka Shea Butter is committed to providing news and information that will help our customers grow, learn and succeed.
In the Baraka Newsroom, you can access all of our newsletters, reports, blogs, recipes, press releases and videos to keep up with everything happening at Baraka. You can also visit our social wall or the social sites below for additional content.[see more]
Here we address popular topics and questions, so we can help you know Baraka better.[see more]
At Baraka, our approach to customer service is simple. We are here to serve and to find solutions to meet your needs and expectations … FAST. At Baraka Shea Butter, we stand behind our customer service 100% – no exceptions.
Whether you need additional assistance, want to rave about us (we hope so), or if we have not exceeded your expectations (we hope not), we want to do whatever we can to make sure your experience with us is a positive one.[see more]