Debbie Van Gricken, the founder of Moyaa Shea Butter Products, is a wife and mother of five boys aged 17-27. When you look at her, it's hard to believe
1. that she has adult children and
2. that she survived being that outnumbered!
She holds a university degree but feels her travels have educated her far beyond what she learned in the classroom. Debbie loves learning and can be found curled up in a quiet corner with a book in hand, a book is probably the most essential addition to her suitcase when she travels. Before starting Moyaa Shea Butter products, she was a Librarian and fills in now and then to feed her right-brain.
Debbie founded her company after she was diagnosed with melanoma, she started looking for more natural products and pursuing a more organic lifestyle. With a passion for Fair Trade, a friend in the Fair Trade Business introduced her to a group of missionaries who were trying to import East African Shea Butter to Canada. Debbie felt her actions and values collide and she found herself in a village in Northern Uganda helping farmers break the cycle of dependency, and bring an amazing natural healing product to the global marketplace. Every day she is amazed by this journey.
Debbie starts every weekday off with a call to her sister. They are best friends, and she finds these daily conversations are necessary to connect. A typical day usually involves making products, doing social media, booking events and speaking engagements, networking with fellow women entrepreneurs and strategic planning. Filling and shipping orders for stores and online sales and looking for new stores to carry their brand. They finish off the day with a family walk with their dogs (my French Bulldog, George is the love of my life!) reading with a cup of tea and enjoying some quiet time to reflect, pray and dream.
The work that is needed to make a sustainable difference in a local and global community can be overwhelming but taking it one step at a time helps tame that business beast. Right now Debbie is focusing on finding eco-friendly packaging and creating a few new products while increasing sales and awareness for her brand. She is planning another trip to Uganda this year but above all expanding their social impact is her main focus.
"If you had to be shipwrecked on a deserted island, but all your human needs—such as food and water—were taken care of, what two items would you want to have with you?"
The book: Shipbuilding for Dummies and my favourite pair of PJs because with my PJs on I am totally comfortable and at ease.
You can find more about Moyaa Shea and their other products at:
or follow their journey on Instagram @moyaasheabutter